Eco-conscious C.C. McLean Public School a finalist in Superpower Your School

GORE BAY—Charles C. McLean Public School has been chosen as one of the top 100 environmentally conscious Canadian schools that are one step closer to winning $25,000 in technology. Staples Canada has announced the regional finalists for its 2017 Superpower your School Contest, which recognizes elementary and secondary schools that are helping the environment by implementing innovative eco-programs.

The 100 schools will now advance to a second round of judging where 10 schools from five different regions will be selected to receive $25,000 each towards the purchase of new technology from Staples Canada. The final 10 winning schools will be announced April 22.

“Our judges were blown away by the quality and scale of some of the eco-programs that these schools are implementing,” said Mary Sagat, president of Staples Canada. “Their passion for making a difference is inspiring. We thank all of the schools who entered the contest and congratulate the 100 finalists for their outstanding commitment to doing their part to improve the environment.”

Charles C. McLean Public School has put in place many eco-initiatives. The kindergarten class has transformed an unused courtyard into a garden with flowers, fruit bearing plants, and raised-bed gardens that produce vegetables for the students to eat.

The SK/Grade 1 class has created a garden area in their schoolyard. They have also initiated a special composting program, and have involved the Grade 3 and Grade 4 classes in being a “Compost Captain.”

The Grade 7/8 classes have built large composting containers that create rich soil for all the gardens.

The students have planted new trees in their schoolyard through school-wide fundraising efforts, and the support of Hydro One’s Arbour Day program.

They have partnered with the Manitoulin Streams Project to do shoreline clean-up projects along Gore Bay and Bickell’s Creek.

This spring the Grade 2/3 class will be helping remove Purple Loosestrife (an invasive species) within the town of Gore Bay.

The Grade 4/5 class have partnered with the Gore Bay Fish and Game Club to set up a Chinook salmon micro-hatchery in their classroom.

The school has established a Go Green Club that encourages support of programs like ‘Litterless Lunches’ and ‘Paper-Free Days.’

As well, the Grade 7/8 class organized a fundraising effort to adopt a polar bear through the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

A recycling program has been initiated in the school with the help of custodial staff and the Grade 7/8 classes, diverting waste from landfill.

The school has also installed a water filling station, to reduce the amount of plastic water bottle waste from the school.

Now in its seventh consecutive year, the contest is held in collaboration with Earth Day Canada and saw more than 700 entries from publicly funded elementary and secondary schools across Canada.

“It’s been amazing to see the level of innovation and creating thinking happening in our schools,” said Deb Doncaster, president of Earth Day Canada. “The next generation of environmental leaders is very dedicated to the cause, and they’re ready to take action now.”