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Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School students create a positive impact on the environment

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The students of Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School have kept certain traditions year after year, and one of those traditions has a positive impact on the environment and the school community.

For the past five years, the Grade 10 Options and Opportunities (O2) classes have been doing garbage cleanups. Every year, the O2 class tries to beat waste collection records from previous years. This fun competition benefits the community in Yarmouth County and the Earth in general. In the first year, the students collected 3,212 pounds of garbage at Cook’s Beach. The maximum environmental waste removed was 4,320 pounds from Cleveland Road in 2017. This year the group was keen to beat the record and set out to clean up two illegal dump sites on Regent Street and Cleveland Road once again. Students worked extremely hard to clean up these sites and as a result, they picked up 2,090 pounds of litter and waste. This initiative has been supported by Waste Check and was reported on by the Yarmouth County Vanguard.

Gardening is another YCMHS tradition that began last year with the construction of a greenhouse in the school’s courtyard. This year, as part of a grade 10 Community-Based Learning course, when students explored food they decided to grow food in the greenhouse. Each student was responsible for planting a tray full of seeds, watering them, and looking after the plants. One student even played music for the plants every morning! As the days passed, the seeds started to grow, and even the students who were not completely engaged at the beginning of the project started to take interest in their plants. Once it was warm enough outside, the plants were transferred to the greenhouse. At the end of the school year, some plants were sold to teachers to raise funds to purchase new supplies for next year, and many students took their plants home to grow their own gardens or have their own herbs. Teacher Tarah Thompson-Schwan noted that there are always a handful of students who continue to grow their own plants every year after their experience in the classroom. Community-Based Learning has an environmental and global citizenship unit when students not only grow plants but also explore topics like pesticides, pollinators like bees, the importance of supporting local farms, and organic food production practices.

~Natalie McMaster
Engagement Officer, Southern NS

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