Waste Reduction School Workshops - North Cowichan

W.O.R.M. (Waste Organizing & Reducing Machine) - that is the title each student receives after participating in North Cowichans Environmental Education Program.  This is the 13th year of the program which focuses on increasing students awareness of environmental issues as well as empowering them to make a difference in their community.

Fiona Dalrymple, a full-time education student at Vancouver Island University, is running the workshops this year and is concentrating on the topic of waste reduction. Dalrymple explains, Students have been learning how to sort their waste into recycling, compost and garbage bins, as well as where their waste goes after it leaves their homes. Very few people in Cowichan realize their garbage is transported by truck, barge and rail down to a landfill in Washington State. Programs such as the Kitchen Pitch-In composting initiative are designed to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Dalrymple is teaching students that we are able to divert almost half of what would normally be thrown in the garbage into our compost bins. The composting process takes place right here on Vancouver Island, requires a great deal less transportation, and restores valuable organic matter to our land.

Students have been working through hands-on, problem-solving activities that help to reveal the secrets of our waste disposal systems.  Students seem to be engaged and have innovative ideas about reducing their waste, says Dalrymple.  By the time the program concludes at the end of June, workshops will have been held in 15 local schools reaching over 1800 students. 

Each student who participates in North Cowichans Environmental School Program has the opportunity to take part in the annual Friends of the Environment Poster Contest.  Students are encouraged to act as environmental stewards within their communities and to demonstrate how they will reduce their impact on the environment through the creation of posters as well as waste repurposing projects. Contest winners will come to North Cowichans Municipal Hall for the Prize Ceremony on July 4, where they will meet Mayor Lefebure and Council and receive prize packages containing goodies from generous local businesses.