City revamps green program

Red Deer schoolchildren will learn more about City of Red Deer water conservation, vehicle idling and other green measures starting this fall.

Red Deer schoolchildren will learn more about City of Red Deer water conservation, vehicle idling and other green measures starting this fall.

The city has revamped its public education environmental program so that it happens year-round and targets more people.

A permanent part-time environmental educator will be hired to give presentations year-round to schools and the rest of the general public.

City environmental initiatives co-ordinator Pam Vust said the city used to hire two summer students to teach adults about water conservation, but the positions have been tough to fill.

Last year, one person out of the two was hired. This year, because of staff “logistics and workload,” the city didn’t hire any.

As a result, Vust said the money was reallocated to this new position.

“We are hoping to have the program designed so it fits the school curriculum,” Vust said. “We’re getting more bang for our buck. We’re teaching 25 kids at the same time.”

The educator may use the Trout Unlimited Canada’s Yellow Fish Road program to teach children about what happens with storm water and particularly any pollution that ends up in the storm drain.

In most cities, storm drains connect to the local water body, such as the Red Deer River, without that contaminant ever being treated. And that can end up hurting the fish in the river.

“We do a little classroom work and then the students will paint a yellow fish on the storm drains, so people know they shouldn’t be dumping anything.”

Vust also hopes to have the environmental educator talk about the problems with engine idling.

The educator will also give presentations to various stakeholders and the public, and prepare and staff Environmental Services displays at public events.

The city has advertised for applicants. Deadline is Friday.

Among the requirements being sought is a minimum two years of experience in delivering public education programs.

“I hope to have the position filled by September,” Vust said.

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