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West Pictou Consolidated Continues to Grow Green Goodies!

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West Pictou Consolidated School has been active in the Green Schools community since 2013-14. The energetic participants are doing many things to waste less and protect the environment: They’ve upcycled pizza and cereal boxes into Solar Ovens, they’ve hosted a Halloween Costume Swap, maintained well-used raised garden beds, they’ve worked with vermicompost, and more!

During a recent energy engagement with Green Schools NS, students in Mme. Brown’s class demonstrated their energy-saving knowledge: using a clothesline instead of a tumble dryer saves energy, and when we’re chilly, our first defence should be to dress for the weather before reaching for the thermostat. Students also know from experience that supporting local farms and growing their own food, such as in their school garden, reduces the emissions of our food miles! The West Pictou school community knows about the importance of saving energy to protect our environment, which also saves money!

One student asked a brilliant question, “How much energy would you actually get from a piece of coal?”

With complete combustion, 1 kilogram of coal can produce approximately 8 kWh according to the European Nuclear Society. The result of burning 1 kg of this fossil fuel creates 2.86 kg of carbon dioxide emissions (US Energy Information Administration). To put that into perspective, an average wind turbine with a capacity of 2.5-3 megawatts can produce more than 6 million kWh per year, enough to supply about 1,500 households (Wind Europe). To get that same amount of energy from coal, we would need to burn 750,000 kg of coal, creating approximately 2,145,000 kg of CO2 emissions.

The Garden Club students recently harvested their school garden, and it was a huge haul! They had planted a variety of vegetables, including carrots, potatoes, beets, corn, green peppers, cabbage and turnips! They got to participate in an annual harvest celebration called Chef Day just before Halloween, creating a delicious meal with Chef Courtney MacDonald from Sobeys.

The students reviewed menu options with Chef Courtney MacDonald and were assigned groups to prepare the delicious dishes with the much-appreciated help of parent volunteers. While waiting for the food to cook, students carved the pumpkins they had grown! Once the food was prepared, the Garden Club celebrated their hard work and abundant harvest by sitting down to enjoy a home-cooked meal together. West Pictou thanks the volunteers who ensured the day was a success: Ron, Carrie, John and Courtney.

Mme. Brown is currently looking for volunteers interested in gardening to assist the success of next year’s garden. Volunteers will bring small groups of students outside to plant in the spring and to harvest in the fall. Volunteers are also needed to help water and weed the garden during the summer. This is a great opportunity to dig in and help West Pictou Consolidated and the Garden Club. If you would like to help out, simply call the office at 902-485-7960.

Congratulations on another successful year of school gardening and wasting less!

-Pam Chandler
Engagement Officer, Northern NS

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