Members of the Planet Protectors at North Saanich’s Deep Cove elementary school in 2019, give the thumbs-up during a break cleaning up a local beach. Their efforts won the school a grant of $1,000 from the BC Green Games. (Photo courtesy of Louise Beaudry)

North Saanich school bags $1,000 for efforts to clean ocean of plastic

Deep Cove’s Planet Protectors won the grant during the BC Green Games

Students attending a North Saanich elementary school have won a province-wide award for their environmental stewardship.

The so-called Plant Protectors — a group of some 50 students attending Deep Cove elementary won the Green Grant worth $1,000 from the BC Green Games, a province-wide environmental stewardship contest established by Vancouver’s Science World.

Louise Beaudry, who teaches Grade 2 and Grade 3 French immersion and helped organize the project along with colleague Maria St. Amand, said the grant is a dream come true. “This helps the children understand the importance of what they are doing, and will fund further work,” she said.

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The students from the Grade 2-3 class of Beaudry and the Grade 4-5 class of Candice Lee won the award for their work in trying to ban single-use plastic bags. They started the project by cleaning up a local beach and the school. They then started to explore the possibility of banning single-use plastics in nearby Sidney after discovering how much plastic garbage littered local shores. As part of their effort, they interviewed shopkeepers in Sidney about single-bag use, tallied the results, and took their concerns to Sidney council in the summer of 2019.

A short video filmed by the children and volunteer parents called Deep Cove Battles Plastic is available on the website of the BC Green Games.

The school has had an active recycling and composting program since 2012. “The kids embrace it,” said Beaudry. “They are enthusiastic and it gives them a chance to show leadership. They are keeners.”

And as of recently, winners.

The BC Green Games describes itself as a “celebration of positive environmental action taken by K-12 students in schools throughout British Columbia.”

The event — now in its 12th year — sees students create environmental projects, document them in photos or video, and share their stories online.

Teams can win could win up to $2,500 for their school’s green initiatives along with other prizes.

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