Haldane Elementary school has taken “being green’ to a national level as they have become the first school in Canada to achieve the Earth 7 status.
Nineteen years after Mrs. Melnychuk began the Green Kids program at the Chase elementary school, Haldane has achieved something no other school in Canada has been able to do.
Melnychuk has led the students and staff of Haldane Elementary to complete more than 7,000 environmentally friendly projects over the years, an accomplishment she is quite proud of.
These projects include everything from cleaning garbage off their school grounds, to recycling in all the classrooms, to more fun and challenging tasks.
Last November the school held an upcycling challenge to see how students could take a recyclable product and repurpose it into something new.
The students also host a funky sweater competition annually in February and have recently taken their green awareness projects to an international level with such efforts as their fortune cookies for Zambia program.
Melnychuk is proud of what the school has been able to accomplish in such a short time, explaining that it was just in 2010 that she began the push for Earth 5 status.
“We put the push on so that we would be the top school in Canada for the Olympics; we accomplished that around the start of the year,” explains Melnychuck. “When the Olympics began we were the greenest school in Canada and we have been continuing on since then.”
The Green Kids Club won’t be slowing down just yet as they have already set their sights on Earth status 8 and have begun working their way through their next 1,000 projects.
Melnychuk, however, may not be around to celebrate this accomplishment as she will be retiring after this year.
“I extend a challenge to all the students and teachers to keep the program alive and running,” she says.
It took the elementary school teacher 19 years to build the Green Kids Club to what it is today, and she hopes that someone will step forward to carry it on.
Melynchuk also reminds students that anyone can become a Green Kid as long as they attend five meetings. After each meeting the child will take a letter which teaches them something different about being green, such as the basics of recycling. This, says Melnychuk, also helps to educate the parents as well.
To honour their many efforts in reducing their environmental footprint, the school district donated solar panels to the elementary school last year.
“We are excited to see how much money they have saved us since,” she says, adding that they should help save at least $1,000.
Another exciting addition to the school’s green efforts is their large barrel composter outside the school, that will allow a larger composting program throughout the school.
Melnychuk explains that they had tried other methods in the past, including earth worms, but found flies to be an issue. She believes the new barrel will solve all the problems.
The compost, she says, might later be used to help fertilize the new flower bed the parent advisory council has put in, in front of the school.