Super Sleuths Visit Dump

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March 30, 2010
Landfill investigation set to uncover impacts
Student detectives go ‘Beyond Recycling’ in new Wildsight program

Columbia Basin, B.C. — What really happens when we throw things ‘away’? Is there even such a place? That’s what Grade 5 and 6 students from both Rosemont and Winlaw elementary schools will discover this Wednesday, as they scrutinize the contents of local transfer stations, landfills and recycling depots.
The students are taking part in a new Wildsight education program that tackles topics such as waste, ecological footprint, climate change and energy use—and how to lessen their impacts.
“This is not your ordinary field trip,” said Monica Nissen, Education Program Manger for Wildsight, the non-profit organization that created and delivers Beyond Recycling.
“There’s nothing inherently ‘fun’ about garbage—but the kids get to be detectives for a day, to solve the mystery of what happens to our waste once we throw it in the trash.”
Rosemont and Winlaw are two of ten schools in the Columbia Basin Region that have taken part in Wildsight’s Beyond Recycling this year. Beyond Recycling aims to inspire students to consider the impact of their actions and to make positive environmental changes. The weekly lessons use slideshows, costumes, movies, and games to make the learning about these serious topics fun. The curriculum is recognized by the B.C. Ministry of Education as contributing to science learning outcomes, and so far teachers, parents and kids are giving it great marks.
“The kids are looking forward to this day,” Nissen said. “They’ve been exploring the issues all year and a trip to the dump will be pretty eye-opening.” She noted that while recycling is an important strategy, it’s just one of many Rs. “We also discuss reducing, reusing, repairing, rethinking and refusing. We’re trying to help equip the students with what they need to contribute to a sustainable future. And that goes way beyond recycling.”
Program sponsors include the Federal Government’s EcoAction program, the Regional District of Central Kootenay, Terasen Gas, Fortis BC, BC Hydro, and Columbia Basin Trust, with support from teachers, administrators and parents from schools throughout the region.