Vedder elementary students earn top environment marks

Vedder elementary is growing young environmentalists.

The elementary school won the inaugural Chilliwack Green Games, a district-wide competition encouraging staff and students to save the environment by changing their behaviours.

Vedder elementary is growing young environmentalists.

The elementary school won the inaugural Chilliwack Green Games, a district-wide competition encouraging staff and students to save the environment by changing their behaviours.

From Jan. 4 to March 31, schools throughout the district participated in the Chilliwack Green Games. The school that reduced its carbon footprint the most won.

Vedder students did not take the challenge lightly.

Senior students led by example, mentoring the younger ones; they organized a lights-out patrol; and even wrote a song, which was sung on the PA system to remind their peers to shut off lights, turn off computer monitors and other electronics when not in use.

In one month, Vedder saved 1,570 kilowatts an hour of energy, which amounted to a cost savings of $192.82. If applied across the district, that would equal a yearly savings of more than $76,000.

“It’s amazing how such a small amount can add up so quickly,” said George Pede, Chilliwack school district energy manager.

For Vedder elementary, it was about buying into the program.

“The big thing for us is that everybody is on board with this,” said principal Denise Andrew.

“The kids are actually really excited about this, you can feel a spirit in the school.”

As the winning school, 30 Vedder elementary students will receive an all-expenses paid field trip to the Eye of the Wind, B.C.’s largest energy-producing wind turbine on Grouse Mountain.

Even though the challenge is complete, the school isn’t stopping its efforts. On Thursday, Vedder elementary is hosting an environmental fair, with displays on worm composting, potato growing, food chains, endangered species, and more. It will also be conducting an indoor litter-less lunch on the same day where staff and students are encouraged to pack their lunches in reusable bags and containers, and where compost buckets will be available for organic waste.

“This certainly is a benefit to our community because these children are now more aware of the environment,” said Andrew.

Unsworth elementary was also awarded the same field trip for 30 students to honour its ongoing, long-term commitment to energy conservation. Over the last two years, Unsworth significant decreased its energy use by enacting simple energy conscious changes like shutting off computer monitors when not in use, unnecessary lights, and decreasing photocopier and printer use. By doing so, the school is saving the district between $180 and $250 a month in energy costs.

Other schools that participated included AD Rundle middle school, Bernard elementary, Promontory elementary and Evans elementary.

kbartel@theprogress.com