Kindergarten students at Evergreen Heights Education Centre in Emsdale got the chance to get their hands dirty and learn a little about trees, gardening and caring for the environment by planting a pair of apple trees in the schoolyard.
One Norland apple tree and one Haralred apple tree were awarded to the class as prizes for their winning entry in a Near North District School Board (NNDSB) Earth Day contest. The contest invited students across the board to share their “green moves” in support of environmental stewardship, waste and carbon management and development of school spaces.
“As a board we strive to ensure that all students have the opportunity to participate in learning about the world around them.” Secondary Program Coordinator Lisa Spencer said. “This year, our teachers across the board and kindergarten to Grade 12 planned amazing activities with their students to showcase how students can ‘invest in the planet’. The Environment Committee formalized the opportunity for sharing these activities through the apple tree contest. We invited teachers and classes to share back what they had done to invest in their planet with the offer that we would purchase, provide and plant two apple trees in the yard of the selected school.”
For Earth Day Skye Goulbourne’s kindergarten class learned about using both sides of their paper, turning off the water when they brush their teeth and turned off their classroom lights to conserve energy while they spent the Earth Day afternoon outside. The students even created a craft using recycled materials.
“Earlier in the year, we had a family donate some empty DVD cases and asked if we had the use for them,” Goulbourne said. “We gratefully accepted them because we are all about turning trash into treasures in kindergarten. For the Earth Day contest we decided to use them to make handprint Earth Day decorations. They put little dots of blue paint with their fingers on the cases to make an Earth and wrote Happy Earth Day on them.”
When tree planting day arrived, the class took turns helping to plant the trees by scooping soil onto the tree roots after Goulbourne and staff had dug the holes. Their involvement in an activity which can benefit the whole school is something that is very important to the youngest students at Evergreen Heights.
“There are limitations through the school that keep the littlest learners from participating in some of the activities that older students get to do. So, it instills a sense of community that these littlest learners did something that everyone at the school can enjoy,” Goulbourne said.
“As they go through their time at the school and we get to do things with the apples that come from the trees I think there will be a real sense of pride in the students from knowing that they did that,” Goulbourne said. “They will be an integral part of caring for these trees for the rest of the school year and our year one students will continue to care for the trees next fall and hopefully get to collect some apples too,” she added.