A group of Lacombe high schoolers have developed green thumbs. Now, they have a green gem.
The EcoVision club at Lacombe Composite High School won an Emerald Award on Thursday night at a ceremony in Calgary, beating out two other finalists in the education: school or classroom category. The awards have been handed out in Alberta for the last 23 years in recognition of environmental sustainability initiatives. The extra-curricular club of about a dozen students has been active at the school for a number of years, completing projects that make the school greener. Solar panels have been installed on the school’s roof, herbs are now grown inside the building, and a student-operated geodesic greenhouse surrounded by fruit trees is present on school grounds. The club was a finalist for an Emerald Award in 2011 and 2012, and has earned many other plaudits in recent years. The Emerald Awards are, said teacher advisor Steven Schultz, “the most prestigious environmental awards in Alberta.”
EcoVision projects, said Schultz, are designed to benefit the environment, enhance students’ education, and encourage community collaboration. There are plans to engage both younger students and senior citizens in the school projects, he said.
One of the group’s major initiatives is to establish an aquaponics apparatus in the greenhouse that will see hundreds of tilapia fish and vegetables grown. Those fish and vegetables, along with a variety of herbs, would then be used in the school’s cafeteria.
Members of the group have had the chance to attend environmental conferences and in March some went on an ecotourism trip to Costa Rica.