Saturday, July 03, 2010

Environmental Posters

I am in Nova Scotia for a few days and plan to make as many photographs as possible while I am here. I didn't bring along any photos to post, so I downloaded these from Mary Queen of Peace Think Green Project Page.

In 2004, federal funding for school-based Information Technology (IT) projects dried up so I was trying to think of a project that would be beneficial for students and good for the school. On a drive home late one September night that year, I thought of Think Green - a student-run business that would teach participants about business and give them the opportunity to operate a real recycling business.

The next day I approached the school administration who thought it was a great idea and told me to "go with it". In Newfoundland and Labrador, the government matches recycling funds raised by schools. That means that schools get twice the amount of money for each recyclable item. The MMSB (our government's crown agency established in 1996 to develop, implement and manage waste diversion and recycling programs on a province-wide basis for specific waste streams designated by the government) had a problem with my idea. They didn't want me to emphasize the monetary aspect of recycling but to concentrate on the environmental benefits. As I pointed out to them, the emphasis was on learning about business with specific emphasis on a recycling enterprise. The MMSBs only role in the project was to match the money we raised through our recycling efforts.

Next, I contacted the School of Business at Memorial University and partnered with them for the business instruction part of the project. Student volunteers from the university have been coming to our school every year since then to teach new groups of young Grade 6 students. The School of Business was so impressed with our students that they started offering the Think Green program to other schools in the city and then around the province. Think Green is now being done in 12 countries around the world!!

As part of Think Green, students and their families have to bring recyclable items to the school. We arranged for weekly recycling blitzes where myself and a group of Grade 6 students met vehicles on Thursday mornings to collect items to be recycled. We raised approximately $20 000 a year since then, which translates into around 200 000 items recycled each year. This project has been beneficial to students who learn about a recycling business, the school who uses funds to purchase things for students (this year they are planning to install an outdoor classroom on the school grounds), and the environment because when young students learn about the value of a clean and healthy environment it will have a long-term positive effect.

I created the above posters as examples and used them in my technology classes to discuss the message and the importance of a healthy environment. I also posted lots of photos that students could use to create their own environmental posters and taught them how to do it. When they created their posters, they uploaded them to their own web sites.

The first photo was taken in Deer Lake and shows a peaceful scene with mist rising off the Humber River. An eagle in Gros Morne National Park was an excellent subject and the foggy background was perfect for adding the text. The trees were photographed in Gros Morne as well and the greens and blues made this an excellent photograph for an environmental poster. I was always amazed at young students' positive reactions to this image! By adding a young boy's face looking towards the beautiful sunrise (also on the Humber River), students seemed to relate positively to the poster.

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