Kindergarten students at the Evergreen Heights Education Center in Emsdale get a chance to reminisce 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 entries in the Near North District School Board (NNDSB) Earth Day contest. The contest invites students across the board to share their “green movement” in support of environmental management, waste and carbon management and school space development.
“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 through Grade 12 are planning amazing activities with their students to show how students can ‘invest in the planet’. The Environment Committee formalized the opportunity to share this activity through an apple tree contest. We invite teachers and classes to share back what they have done to invest in their planet with the offer that we will buy, provide and plant two apple trees in selected school grounds.”
For Earth Day, Skye Goulbourne’s kindergarten class learned about using both sides of their paper, turning off the water when they brushed their teeth and turning off their classroom lights to conserve energy when they spent Earth Day afternoons outside. The students even made crafts from recycled materials.
“Earlier in the year, we had a family donate some empty DVD boxes and asked if we could use them,” says Goulbourne. “We gladly accept them because we all want to turn trash into treasure in kindergarten. For the Earth Day contest, we decided to use it to make hand-printed Earth Day decorations. They put little dots of blue paint with their fingers on the case to make Earth and write Happy Earth Day on it.”
When tree planting day arrived, the class took turns helping plant trees by scooping soil into the tree roots after Goulbourne and staff dug holes. Their involvement in activities that can benefit the entire school is something that is especially important to the youngest students in Evergreen Heights.
“There are restrictions through the school that prevent the youngest students from participating in some of the activities older students can do. So it instills a sense of community that these littlest students are doing something that everyone in the school can enjoy,” said Goulbourne.
“When they pass their time at school and we do things with apples that come from trees, I think there will be a real sense of pride in the students knowing they are doing that,” says Goulbourne. “They will be an integral part of caring for these trees for the rest of the school year and our first year students will continue to care for the trees next fall and hopefully be able to collect some apples as well,” he added.