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Our Community: Lantzville school takes a stand on environment

Plus: Wildfire preparedness in Sooke; Sarah Beckett Memorial Scholarship
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Students at Lantzville's Seaview Elementary School participated in a school-wide planting program where they reused milk containers from their B.C. Fruits and Vegetables Program to plant seeds for their learning garden. Seaview Elementary School

Lantzville school takes a stand on environment

Lantzville’s Seaview Elementary School is one of 15 finalists for the Future Ground Prize contest through the David Suzuki Foundation.

Students are being recognized for their positive impact on the ­environment through various initiatives, ­including transforming the school garden into an outdoor learning space called the ­Kwikwumluxw Learning Garden. Kwikwumluxw means “little root” in Hul’qumi’num.

The public can vote for Seaview ­Elementary from May 16 to June 13.

On June 22, three winners will be announced. Winners will have an ­opportunity to present their projects to David Suzuki during an online public event.

The Seaview Takes a Stand initiative began five years ago and involved 270 students, chaperoned by four teachers.

Among other environmental projects, they petitioned to protect a nearby forest, save endangered species and decrease plastic pollution in the sea.

Three years ago, they won the ­community involvement award for the Plastic Bag Challenge by ­collecting 6,000 bags, organizing a shoreline cleanup and writing 100 letters to the ­federal minister of environment ­supporting a motion to fight plastic ­pollution. They are hoping to create a zero-waste school as an example for other schools.

“Over the past couple years, our ­students have been involved in many ­different activities, fundraisers and ­projects which have taught them they can invoke and create change and become environmental leaders at their school, in the community and globally,” said ­Seaview Elementary librarian Jolaine Canty.

With support from the Nanaimo Regional District and its Zero Waste initiative, Seaview has transformed the school’s recycling and composting ­program, decreasing the school’s waste substantially. Students participated in a school-wide planting program where they reused milk containers from their B.C. Fruits and Vegetables Program and compost to plant seeds for the garden.

Classes also participated in a Recycled Carnival and an Environmental ­Learning Showcase where they demonstrated their knowledge and appreciation for ­protecting the planet and the importance of reusing different materials.

In January, Seaview started Trashless Tuesdays, a school-wide initiative to reduce lunch waste by promoting waste-free lunches.

“All of these programs and projects have taught our students the importance of protecting our environment and have inspired and motivated families and members of the community to make changes and live more sustainable lives,” said Canty.

Intermediate classes adopted a local park to clean up and, in June, students will participate in a yearly shoreline ­clean-up to remove garbage from beaches and roads.

Seaview students not only focus on school projects but also community and global initiatives, including raising money for humanitarian and environmental causes or writing letters to governments and the school board.

“Our students are building a connection with nature and their planet and learning that they can stand up for a ­better tomorrow,” Canty said.

Sooke Wildfire Community Preparedness Day

Sooke residents can learn how to protect their homes from wildfires through an educational event with FireSmart co-ordinator Ashlene Akatarian on May 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at John Phillips Memorial Park.

Activities include learning about wildfire risk and the wildland urban interface zone. There are also games and prizes for children and an opportunity to book a free FireSmart home assessment.

Gather neighbours, friends and family members who want to participate in this event and get prepared.

Sooke is located within a wildland urban interface zone, which means the community is at a greater risk of a devastating wildfire. Akatarian said homeowners play an important role in wildfire prevention — they can directly reduce the risk of wildfire damage to their property by using FireSmart principles, including the removal of flammable vegetation that’s adjacent to a home — for example, replacement of flammable conifer trees with deciduous ones.

Sarah Beckett Memorial Scholarship

Applications for the Const. Sarah Beckett Memorial Scholarship are being accepted until June 24.

The $2,000 scholarship, presented each year to post-secondary students who live in the capital region, is named for West Shore RCMP Const. Sarah Beckett, who was killed in an on-duty car crash in 2016. It is awarded to students who have an interest in pursuing a career in law enforcement, based on academic achievement, financial need and community service.

The CRD Traffic Safety Commission, which is responsible for traffic safety education programs in the region, created the scholarship as a way of increasing awareness of traffic safety issues and the community service provided by police.

“This is the sixth year we can honour Constable Beckett’s memory with financial support for students dedicated to caring for the safety of their communities,” said Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes, chairman of the commission. “We have been able to support students of all ages through this scholarship, from those just beginning their path to adult learners transitioning careers. If you are developing your career in public safety, I encourage you to apply.”

More information, along with the application form, is available at crdtrafficsafety.ca/cst-sarah-beckett-memorial-scholarship.