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One Student’s Trash is Another Student’s Treasure!

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Pictured from left to right, Kiana James, Jared Sysiuk, & Kelsey Houben and teacher Todd Rayne in the front show off just some of the discarded school supplies they have collected.

April 18, 2011 - Students in teacher Todd Rayne’s Grade 5/6 class are working on a conservation project, but this one is pretty unique. These Immaculate Conception Catholic Elementary School students have decided to collect garbage. Rayne is the school’s Dearness Conservation Lead, and has had several conversations with the school’s staff about how the students could reduce their energy and water usage, as well as increase their recycling efforts. One of the things that Rayne noticed in his own classroom was how many school supplies were being swept up at the end of the day and thrown in the garbage. This is when the D.C. team decided to make some changes. Over the past fifty days, the grade 5/6 students have visited all the junior classrooms and collected all of the discarded and forgotten school supplies that would have otherwise been thrown in the garbage. The results after their collection were astounding. After the first weigh-in, he students recorded that they had collected over 10 pounds of school supplies. Instead of being thrown out, the collected supplies are now returned back to their classes to be reused. As well, the students have tracked all of their findings for each class on a spreadsheet so that each week and month they can take their data to help support their cause and show each class where they need improvement. The next step for the class is making the school aware of their findings. Through the use of student created podcasts played over morning announcements, the class teaches the student body about the importance of recycling and taking care of their belongings. “We started this because I was noticing a lot of discarded supplies in my own classroom,” Rayne said. “As the D.C. lead, I knew it was our responsibility to make others aware of the waste and by getting the students so involved, there is much more buy-in on their part. Now they have become the teachers for the rest of the school and it is a win-win situation as we have all become conservation champions!” The students will be continuing this project until the end of the school year along with several other conservation initiatives, and it is their hope that they can reduce the waste significantly, possibly even to a “zero pound” collection.

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