2011 Winners

Bernard Eco Team

"Greening our Courtyard"

School: Bernard Elementary

Votes Received: 50

Bernard Elementary’s environmental project started with our Grade 3 class pledging to try and make a difference in our school environment. We pledged to reduce our garbage, reuse our paper and cardboard, recycle as much as possible, start a composting program, save energy by turning off lights, participate in the Great Backyard bird count and plant and grow our own vegetables. We were able to do it all, but realized we needed a safe space to grow our plants and attract different insects and birds. The perfect space to increase our school’s biodiversity was a paved courtyard that was being used to sort recycling. Our dream was to make this boring, sterile space into a vibrant, green learning area where students could learn how to grow their own food, but also learn about native plants. We received a grant, but soon realized we would need more money to pay for the garden structures, wooden benches, rain barrel, shrubs and plants. As word of the greening project spread, more students, staff and parents joined in to help reach our goal. The Eco Club grew from 18 students to over 30 as sisters, brothers and other students joined in. We invited local garden expert Brian Minter to share his knowledge with us and learn how to make our green space sustainable. We got approval from our maintenance dept and advice from the school district gardener. We measured, visualized, made a wish list and then a budget. Our next step was to fundraise by selling bannock and cupcakes. We also asked local businesses for discounts and donations. Despite the flu and bad weather, we persevered and started building our raised garden beds while planting our seeds indoors in pots. Eco kids, parents and staff joined together to construct the beds and haul the soil. When it warms up, we will be transplanting our tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, sunflowers, nasturtiums etc to the garden beds. We will also be planting licorice fern, salmon berries, bracken fern and horsetail for our First Nations teacher to educate students about plants used by aboriginal elders. We look forward to our harvest. Future plans include building the benches, a birdhouse and feeders. The Eco Club will also promote environmental awareness by encouraging litter less lunches, ban the water bottle campaign and helping with the Adopt-a-River cleanup. Next year, there is another courtyard that’s caught our eye……………………. Our club motto is from The Lorax - “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” The Bernard Eco team cares.


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Mentors Consulted

BC Hydro School Programs
Local Organic Gardeners
SEEDS Foundation - Green Schools
Brian Minter - horticulturalist, Imaginaction


Green Schoolyard
Sustainable Development

© Science World British Columbia 2011