BY AVERY KASH, ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATOR, CPAWS MANITOBA
What are the last five pieces of garbage that you threw away? What is litter? Where do you usually see litter?
These were the questions asked of the 148 students who participated in the CPAWS Litter Cleanup Challenge that ran from May 1 to June 16, 2021.
These conscientious students and their teachers picked up bags of litter in their communities to make the space a more enjoyable place for all while learning about the environmental impact of litter on ecosystems and wildlife.
Many students were surprised by how much litter they found in their community.
“Can we come out again? I saw more garbage that needs to get picked up,” said a Grade 6 student from Chief Peguis Middle School.
Alysa Ferguson, a kindergarten teacher at Juniper School in Thompson, took her students out eight times throughout May and June to pick up litter.
“We are all connected to the land,” Ferguson said. “When we show the little ones how to take care of the land, they naturally follow in our footsteps. The kids love feeling how their actions have value and meaning. They are now asking to go out and do even more in their recess time!”
In addition to picking up litter, students also explored the decomposition rates of common garbage including plastic bottles, bags and disposable medical masks through an interactive video lesson.
Students were invited to think about ways that they could take action against litter, such as reducing, reusing and repurposing as much as possible.
Three participating classrooms were randomly selected to win a classroom doughnut party.
A big congratulations goes out to Jonathan Wiebe and his class of 28 Grade 7 science students at Ecole Selkirk Junior High, Ken Pankiewich and his class of 11 Grade 3 and 4 students at Lord Nelson School and Alysa Ferguson and her class of 20 kindergarten students at Juniper School. All of the students will receive special treats this week.
We want to send a big thank you to the 10 classrooms that participated in our Litter Cleanup Challenge. Together, we can make a difference!