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Holland Road Elementary and Hawthorne Elementary: Keen Teachers Engage on Energy Efficiency

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My name is Ruvi and last week was my first week doing in-person engagements with the Green Schools NS program. I had a great time! The two schools I visited were showing interest in our Green Schools program for the first time; they both reached out over the summer to request visits this fall. This level of enthusiasm is shows an incredible commitnment to teaching sustainability to students in our province.

Colleen and I headed across Halifax Harbour to visit Holland Road Elementary in the Fall River area just after Thanksgiving weekend. We enjoyed our time there so much! The school is surrounded by beautiful trees which were all changing to their fall colours. The school has garden beds right beside their main entrance which make a cheery first impression with tall, nodding sunflowers. We visited two classes at this school with our curriculum-linked engagement on energy efficiency. There was a fire drill done during our first engagement, however, due to the students moving so efficiently, we were back in good time. The grade five students were very polite, and raised their hands to ask or comment during the presentations. One student in Ms LeGrow’s class was very passionate about using water efficiently and explained that the school faucets are a type that you touch and the water runs for about a minute. He thought this was very wasteful, and had many great suggestions on how we can choose to use faucets differently to waste less water, such as only pressing the faucet half-way. The students at Holland Road Elementary had other suggestions to waste less energy such as washing their hair the night before school and letting it air dry instead of using an energy-hungry hairdryer.

The next day, I headed over to Hawthorne Elementary. Upon entry of the school, you notice their Energy Dashboard which is right next to the office. Since I had arrived a little early, while the grade 5/6 classes were still working on their assessments, Ms Senn sent a very intelligent young man from her class to sit and wait with me. This young man demonstrated leadership as he spoke of how last year Green Schools had visited and ever since that visit, he had started unplugging his gaming station every night before bed. The classes I visited were very enthusiastic about learning new energy efficiency habits and about technologies that waste less energy. When it was time for activities, every single hand went up when I asked for volunteers! Later in the day, Ms Burke became very passionate about improving her wasteful habits and declared that she was going to start with unplugging devices in the kitchen such as the toaster and kettle. Upon hearing this from their teacher, many of the students also made a commitment to change just one of their wasteful habits, such as taking shorter showers, or turning the faucet off when brushing teeth.

That afternoon, I had the pleasure of visiting the Hawthorne Excel group which is an after school program. This was a group of 45 students. We had a few activities with a wide variety of ages from Primary to grade six. The most popular activity was the hunt for classrooms with lights on when there was no one inside. Check out the Energy Navigator Activity series for more info. Every single student was so excited to be the first to find a room with lights on that they could turn off and waste less energy!

For my first week, I have to highlight how impressed I am at the students at both of these schools. These are young minds that are curious, willing to learn, and keen to change their habits to waste less. I am so excited to be part of this program and help others waste less.

~Ruvi Mugara
Engagement Officer

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