Three R's Initiative

PA's World Warriors

Pacific Academy
  • Mixed Secondary School Grades
Photo Essay (3–10 images)

Community Coach(es): 

Roy Teo

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Pacific Academy’s environmental club set out this year to foster a community in which we can work together to make our school and neighbourhood a better place. Our purpose was to initiate a direct action plan and give students the power to create a more sustainable environment. As our team came into September, we wanted to advocate for realistic, practical, and sustainable development on a school-wide scale. In previous years we had already implemented and collected composting, bottle, paper and plastic bag recycling and saw how our school was learning through habit to become greener.

Inspired by our progress, we began to notice a large number of school markers going to waste in landfills. As a challenge, we felt more could be done to extend the life of the average felt marker. In the beginning, our club has only thought about the typical recycling projects such as our growing battery recycling. Markers would, therefore, be a way to step outside of the box. With the hope to engage the whole community of kindergartners to grade 12s, we began a campaign and emailed staff throughout campus to propose our developing battery and marker recycling plans. In the initial stages, we got in contact with a Payless ShoeSource shop about collecting their leftover shoeboxes to be flipped into our marker recycling bins. Upon assembling and delivering our collection boxes to every classroom on campus, our once-a-month battery and marker collection saw steady growth. As a result, our team would sort batteries and markers for safe shipping each month. Collecting a total of 4.23 kg of plastic-cased markers and 21.66 kg of batteries. Our partners included the Crayola ColorCycle Marker Recycling program and the Call2Recycle battery program alongside our regular recycling depots. The development of our club has left us with the hope that in the coming years these new initiatives will grow and create the ripple effect of a habitual green mindset in students’ and staff’s daily lives.

In addition to our recycling objectives, the environmental club has also partnered with Metro Vancouver Parks for the removal of invasive species for over five years. Our club has an average five-person volunteer team for 1.5-hour shifts once every other week. So far, our club has worked and contributed approximately 50 hours this year. The benefits of volunteering at Tynehead park was the opportunity it gave students to understand and learn more about their local ecosystem as well as the problem of invasive species. Working to rehabilitate our area by planting native species allowed us to restore natural biodiversity to the park. Furthermore, working outside our school community provided us with ways to converse with the public about our environmental pursuits and encourage awareness. Tynehead is a long term commitment that has long-lasting impacts on our ecosystems. Building on the idea of long-lasting solutions, our team has also begun to develop a proposal for new, more sustainable water fountains. By advocating for Elkay fountains, we want to encourage the use of reusable water bottles in our school. We want to think ahead, not only to tackle current greener options but also considering ways to develop our community for a more sustainable and green future.

The growth and progress our team has made this year only increased our excitement and appreciation of our natural world. Our responsibility to maintain the integrity of our environment empowered us to realize that we can make a noticeable difference with our actions. Green Games was an amazing opportunity for the club as it gave us an objective to work towards other than our own personal goals and provided the space to reflect and celebrate our progress. With the encouragement Green Games provides schools and environmental clubs to pursue healthier and more environmentally conscious mindsets, we hope in the same way, our environmental club can provide to our school community.