2019
Mountainside Sustainability

The Honey Bunch

Mountainside Secondary
  • Mixed Secondary School Grades
Photo Essay (3–10 images)

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What are we?

Sustainability is an elective here at Mountainside, each semester 12-15 students choose the class which links to Environmental Science 11 and 12. We focus on the three types of sustainability: Social, Environmental and Economical. We tackle many topics in our classroom, but that is what makes us unique. In class we delve deep into the issues that affect sustainability of the world around us and how the things we do in our daily lives have an impact on the greater world around us. The experiences happening in our classroom reaches the rest of the school because they are interested in what we are doing. This process and the things we learn in our classroom, not only impacts us but everyone we meet in our lives.

What is our project?

We have six main components and ongoing projects in our Sustainability classroom.

Bees

Bees are one of the most if not the most important insect in our lives. Without bees we may not survive as they provide us with the foods we eat. Each year we receive bees from BC bees supply. Using the bees, we learn about honey production and how to care for these animals. We learn about the importance of them in our daily lives and the impact we can have on their survival. Learning about all the things bees do and interacting with them at their hive, we can better appreciate them and remind people that it is wasps that we need to be scared of and not bees.

Currently we are processing our honey and the wax from last winter. We are hoping to sell it and use that money to fund more sustainability projects in our school.

Chickens

We are currently awaiting our next round of chickens. The class receives fertilized eggs from True North Farm and we care for them until they are too big for our space. Through the chickens we learn about the farming industry and how sustainable or unsustainable it is. We learn about the challenges and restrictions of the industry. The chickens teach us not only about the practice of having a small chicken co-op and what the needs of the chickens are, but also the compassion and relationships that can be built with animals. We learn how easy it is to have them in our yard and the impact that could have on our great environment.

Garden Plots

On our school field we have a few garden plots available to us. We enjoy being out in the sunshine and learning how a little space goes a long way for what we can grow. Last year we grew: lettuce, kale, radishes and many other plants. This year we are planning on expanding to peppers and maybe some other tougher vegetables.

Salmon

Salmon are an important species for the West Coast of BC. We are using the salmon in our classroom from the Salmonids in the Classroom Program, as an entrance point to other local environmental issues. In class we will be conducting a research project in which we visit different streams around our area to determine the health of them. We will release our streams into the healthiest water system to give them the best shot of survival. Through this project we will understand the problems that humans cause on Mosquito creek. At the end of our project we will be painting water drains with salmon to help remind people of the community that everything you wash off your car or pour down your driveway or onto your plants can affect the salmon and waterways in our neighbourhood.

Composting Program

Last semester the Sustainability class worked tirelessly to bring compostable utensils, cups and plates into our cafeteria. With many students and staff members using paper cups and plates and plastic forks for every lunch we felt like it was a waste and had a huge impact on the environment. We created a project to help bring in compostable materials into our school. This semester we created compost posters to make our sorting bins more user friendly.

Sustainability Projects

At the beginning of the semester each class member chooses a topic on sustainability to explore throughout the term. At the end of the term they will create poster projects or another form of presentation for their projects.

Some themes we are currently working on are:

My project is converting a minibike from gas-powered to electric. Electric is better for the environment than gas.  – Student

What does it mean to be vegan and how does it relate to sustainability? – Megan

Easy ways to live a more sustainable life – Katarina

What does Sustainability mean to us?

“Sustainability is a responsibility to me. This is our world, and we need to take care of it. I joined sustainability because I wanted to research more about social sustainability and see what affects it.”

                                                                                                                                                   -Student

“Sustainability class to me is interesting because I enjoy doing hands on projects. I love to get my hands dirty and getting the satisfaction of doing something that’s good for both me and the environment. I’ve always found gardening enjoyable, so I am looking forward to that. Working with the bees will be fun, the honey from last year’s bees is sweet and good. Taking care of the chickens will be another thing I’m looking forward to being kind to the environment usually brings positive benefits, so I don’t see nothing wrong with trying to be sustainable.”

                                                                                                                                                  -Francine

“Sustainability is important because our wold only has a certain amount of resources and unless we find ways to be sustainable and preserve those resources where won’t be any for the future generations.”

-Student

“I took sustainability because I believe that environmental science is the most important up and coming industry. If we won’t to continue surviving on this plant we need to learn to take care and respect it.”

-Student

“Sustainability is important because it helps bring awareness to all the possible ways that we can better our environment and help the people and animals living in it.”

-Student

“Learning about sustainability is important to me, because I want future generations to have the same opportunities I do. I also want my actions to have a positive impact on the world.”

-Simon

“Ever since I started going to my sustainability class it has opened my eyes on how important being sustainable is. I’ve learned so much on how to be sustainable, from recycling pens to having your own chickens and bees. Everyday we have many choices to be sustainable, and I’ve been being more mindful and making decisions based on sustainability. If I buy something from the store I do my best to not use a plastic bag. Simple decisions lead to how we help the earth. Sustainability isn’t an idea, it’s a way that everyone can live. “

-Katarina

“Being sustainable is important to me because I genuinely care about the world we live in. I want this world to go on forever, and I know that it’s not possible if we don’t put in the effort. I took this class to better myself and increase my knowledge on how to not only be more sustainable myself, but to be able to know enough to share with my friends and family. The more I learn about how to be more sustainable, I realize that it’s a lot easier than I initially thought. I’m really happy I took this course because it has really opened up my view on this world we live in and how I can make a difference in my community.”

-Megan