Two Reynolds secondary students are making it easier for their teachers and classmates to get to school quickly without stepping foot inside a car.
Grade 10 students Matt Evans and Nathan Denny recently won $250 courtesy of the Capital Regional District’s My Green High School Plan contest. Their prize-winning plan: purchase a communal electric bike for the school.
“It actually started as an inquiry project in my science class. They wanted to research electric bikes and see how much savings they would afford us,” said science teacher and leadership advisor Heather Coey.
“When we started out we just thought this would be a science project. We didn’t think we’d get enough money to buy a bike, actually get money to buy one and find a bike that we could afford,” said Denny, 15.
Brian Yee, a volunteer coach for the school’s tennis and basketball teams, is an avid e-biker.
He was able to acquire a fixer-upper e-bike and new parts for $375.
“The goal was to, one way or another, get the money to get at least one bike happening in the school. Thankfully Brian helped us do it a lot easier,” Coey said.
Yee did the majority of the mechanical upgrades on the bike himself, but delivered it unfinished to the school earlier this month.
Evans and Denny, along with classmates with developmental disabilities in Reynolds’ learning assistance program, helped Yee with some of the electric components, including installing the lighting and doing some wiring.
While the bike is nearly road ready, Coey says the plan is to initially start using the bike as loaner for staff members.
“We want to get them interested in wanting to convert a bike to an electric bike, so it would be easier for them to use, but something they could use and hopefully drive less,” she said. Eventually she wants to see a club within the school that has enough financial support to purchase more e-bikes or the parts to convert traditional bicycles into e-bikes.
The CRD awarded $2,000 worth of prizes to secondary schools in the region through the My Green High School Plan contest. Claremont in Saanich, Oak Bay and Gulf Islands secondary schools also earned money for their environmental plans.
“It’s inspiring to see how innovative and ambitious these plans are, as youth play a key role in shaping the future of our region,” said Nils Jensen, chair of the CRD’s Environmental Services Committee and Mayor of Oak Bay. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to support these students in improving their schools’ sustainability.”
“We’ve done quite a few projects at Reynolds, but one thing we’ve had a challenge tackling is the whole transportation issue and how to get people interested and using transportation that has less CO2 emissions,” Coey said.
Evans and Denny will be entering their e-bike project in the B.C. Green Games, a provincewide contest that promotes sustainable initiatives within schools. Reynolds’ environmental projects – from the school’s recycling methods to their chicken fostering program – have earned the school $8,000 in the last five years at the B.C. Green Games.
The school is looking at launching two new environmental projects before the school year’s end. The first involves the acquisition of a blower door system that they plan to rent out for homeowners to detect leaks in their home. The second involves raising worms for composting.
“Kids are awesome. They always have such great ideas, lots of energy,” Coey said. “They’re taking on projects they can apply to have a community benefit, not just something for learning’s sake. The kids can be a massively positive resource for our community.”
“One thing that interested me is that this started out as just a theory, and now we can actually do this and see it happening. It’s not just the hypothetical science project you thought it was going to be,” Evans added. “It’s pretty cool.”