Pictured above: Superintendent Sylvia Russell presents the 2018 Energy Challenge trophy to the Kanaka Creek Green Team.
For the third year in a row, students and staff across the school district turned down the lights and turned up their energy-saving efforts while participating in the Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District (SD42) Energy Challenge.
Seven elementary and secondary schools participated in the third-annual event and completed 117 different energy-saving activities – from Blanket Days to Free the Plug Fridays, and much more – during the month of February. As a result, the school district saved 11,103 kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity and 117 GJ (gigajoules) of natural gas during the month, enough to power 3.5 residential homes for an entire year.
“The goal of the Energy Challenge is to show students that everyone can save a bit of energy with a small amount of effort and a large amount of fun,” said Nora Wintermute, manager of Energy & Environmental Sustainability.
Wintermute hosted kick-off events at all participating schools, as well as weekly brainstorming sessions and workshops designed to help give the schools additional energy saving ideas. Friendly competition between schools led to sharing ideas for activities and encouraged staff to challenge each other, she added.
This year’s winner is Kanaka Creek Elementary, which had a student-led Green Team of more than 20 participants. Some of the school’s activities included Tupperware Tuesday, Water Bottle Wednesday and waste stream audits.
“We are very excited and proud,” said Avery and Melissa, Grade 6 members of Kanaka Creek’s Green Team.
“We are making a difference,” added Molly, a member of the team.
Many of the students also used the energy conservation tips learned at school in their own homes.
On May 28, Superintendent Sylvia Russell presented the 2018 Energy Challenge trophy to the Kanaka Creek Green Team during a school assembly. The school also received $250 to spend on an energy, sustainability or healthy lifestyle initiative at their school.
Albion Elementary, Davie Jones Elementary, Highland Park Elementary, Yennadon Elementary, Garibaldi Secondary and Westview Secondary also participated in the Energy Challenge.
“We encouraged the students to create their own energy-saving activities and it made all the difference. They felt real ownership over their ideas and it really took off from there,” said Wintermute.