Erin Harris (left) toured Grade 4/5 students from Yaqan Nukiy School around her family’s Kootenay Meadows dairy

Erin Harris (left) toured Grade 4/5 students from Yaqan Nukiy School around her family’s Kootenay Meadows dairy

Wildsight program taking Yaqan Nukiy students beyond recycling

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The Grade 4/5 class at Yaqan Nukiy School recently used recycled materials to design “communities of the future”. These Creston Valley students have been participating in Beyond Recycling, a 24-week Wildsight program that tackles topics such as energy, waste and consumption. Using a hands-on approach and local community expertise, the program empowers students to come up with creative and positive solutions to environmental challenges.

Teacher Trevor Marzke’s class split into four groups to create their inspiring communities of the future. Each community needed to come up with ways to reduce waste, use less resources, conserve water, use renewable energy, have efficient transportation and provide locally grown food.


Left: Yaqan Nukiy School Grade 4/5 students creating “communities of the future”. Below: A finished community.


“This activity was a really great way to apply what we have been learning in Beyond Recycling and envision positive, creative solutions to our current environmental challenges,” said local Wildsight educator Melissa Flint.

One group used their waste to produce biofuel to power their transportation network. Another group put solar panels on each house to provide electricity for the community. Another group fashioned a yoke and plow that could be used by steer or horses to help produce local food without using fossil fuels. Most of the communities featured healthy river systems that were protected by local trees and vegetation, and provided fish for the communities.

Last week, the Beyond Recycling students headed to the Kootenay Meadows dairy farm to learn about a successful ecological food producer in the Creston Valley. Kootenay Meadows protects soil and water and produces healthy food for local communities. The owners have also chosen to install solar hot water to help reduce their energy footprint and use reusable glass bottles for milk production instead of plastic bottles.

“Kootenay Meadows is an excellent example for the students of how their own choices, as well as local business choices can help move us towards more sustainable communities in the future,” Flint said.