Mount Sentinel Secondary’s new Green Team has been making quite a splash recently. Formed in the wake of the school’s first annual Sustainability Day, their efforts are part of what superintendent Jeff Jones calls “the future of education.”
Earlier this year the student and staff initiative sent an environmental banner to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanding climate action. That landed on the front page of the Star and earned them retweets from the likes of Naomi Klein and Margaret Atwood.
Now the enthusiastic high schoolers are launching at least three new local initiatives, and last week three representatives from the team — Adriana Burton, Shasta Barkman and Zohara Hatfield — shared a presentation with the school board.
“Our team has weekly meetings to discuss issues in the school, and we work together to formulate solutions and idea. We want to think of new ways to lessen our school’s impact on the climate,” Barkman told the board.
To that end they’ve begun three initiatives: an anti-idling campaign, a turn-off-the-lights campaign and a project to begin beekeeping on school grounds.
“Bees are starting to go extinct and that’s not good,” said Hatfield, who noted they heard from bee experts during Sustainability Day. “These bees are going to help pollinate the plants, and we want to create a community effort to take care of these bees.”
Trustee Curtis Bendig praised the student representatives, and asked how they plan to “keep the pressure on our political leaders.”
“Right now we’re trying to reach out to popular Canadians who will be able to share our message with other people. We’re trying to reach out beyond Canada,” said Burton.
Chair Lenora Trenaman praised the new logo for the team, which features a wildcat paw in a nod to the school’s mascot and a Canadian maple leaf. It’s emblazoned on the chest of their t-shirts and was designed by student Zack Janzen.
The team was invited to lead this year’s Walk with the World climate march in Nelson, which they did with enthusiasm.
“This is a way I can channel my passion into real change,” said Barkman. “Having a group of people behind me, supporting me, makes this action mean so much more.”
The team also plans to collaborate with the community on creating a garden on school grounds.
“All the food produced will be for our lunch and breakfast programs, or will go to food backs to promote healthy and independent living.”
They’re not going to stop there.
“Eventually I want to change the whole world,” said Hatfield.