They’re part of an attempted green revolution — 200 Crestview school students aware of their growing shoe size as much as their carbon footprint and who believe there are more than just three Rs when it comes to environmental sustainability.
Last year, the small elementary school was recognized as the first in Manitoba to reach the transformational level of the province’s Eco-Globe Schools program, a level that acknowledges a school-wide culture shift toward sustainable practices in the hallways and across the curriculum.
"We want to empower the students who can then empower their families and communities to become globally aware about what they can do for our world," said vice-principal Samantha Amaral.
Amaral and her counterpart, Principal Sandra Simonson, are quick to rattle off a pages-long list of initiatives the school has undertaken over the last five years.
In that time, the school has held awareness campaigns on energy usage, built itself an outdoor classroom, launched a horticultural club, installed compost and recycling bins in every classroom, and still routinely holds community cleanups.
Just to name a few.
Students have become so environmentally-conscious, students on a recent field trip were actually flummoxed there was nowhere for them to compost their orange peels, according to Simonson.
"It’s become so much of who they are," she said.
But the school’s plan extends beyond green initiatives, Amaral added.
Students have held food bank drives, fundraised for disaster relief, volunteered to help pet rescues, and worked with Unicef and the United Way, she said.
"They become one," Amaral said.
The school is looking at expanding and opening its toy and book swaps to the greater community as it moves forward, Simonson said.
As of 2012, five St. James-Assiniboia schools were nearing the transformational level, including Golden Gate, Hedges, Lakewood, Lincoln and Strathmillan schools.
For more, visit www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/esd/index.html.