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Brooklyn District Elementary Students Lead the School to Energy Efficient Habits

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Who knew that a trip to the Tim Horton Children’s Camp would start a journey towards energy efficiency for a whole school and it’s community? That is exactly what happened when the grade four and five students from Brooklyn District Elementary School were given a challenge at camp. At the end of their camp experience, students were challenged to identify a problem in their school or community and to develop a project to address the problem. After some initial brainstorming, many students identified problems with the environment and agreed to set a goal to create a greener school.

Knowing their goal was a bit broad, Teacher Marco Gehrig invited me to help his grade four students. I introduced the class to the fact that everything we do uses energy and that energy consumption impacts our Earth. The students learned they can contribute to a solution through their everyday choices to waste less energy. The grade fours were very engaged on the topic and had many ideas about what they could do to help the Earth both at home and at school. They could have talked and planned for the whole afternoon, but this was just the beginning of their project.

The students shared the Green Schools NS Energy Slideshow with the other grade four and five classrooms so everyone could learn about the important role of energy efficiency to keep our Earth green. Armed with knowledge and the great resources from Green Schools NS, the students decided on two important issues: The grade four students wanted to reduce energy usage. The grade five students wanted to reduce litter and encourage students to pack litterless lunches.

After the topics were chosen, the students brainstormed how they could succeed in their goals. They first wanted to raise awareness and educate the students, parents, and staff. These students wrote morning announcements, made up presentations to give to classrooms, made signs to post around the school and created notices and reminders to go home with students at Brooklyn District Elementary. Then, students wanted to make an impact through highlighting special days. Their Fridays became special by adding initiatives to have “lights out” and “power down” days. On the Wednesday before Earth Day, they hosted a litterless lunch day.

Grade four students asked each class in the school to work through the Energy Navigator Activity and post the Classroom Energy Checklist from Green Schools NS to help classes to remember to waste less energy every day. Green Schools NS “Lights Off” clings were placed on light switches. The grade fours even sent home the Home Energy Checklist with each student so they could also make better choices with their energy use at home, too!

The students were so excited to share their story and their personal input into each of the projects when I visited BDES just before Earth Day. The students head back to camp this week where they will share how the group is working to make their school, and consequently the Earth, a greener place. 

I was even more excited when students at another elementary school nearby told me about these exciting green things Brooklyn District Elementary has been doing to take care of the Earth! The amazing work being done at BDES is sending a message of helping the Earth that goes beyond their school, and is reaching the whole community! Well done, BDES students!

~Natalie McMaster
Engagement Officer, Southern NS

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