Using the story, The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley as inspiration, the Grade 4 students of Bluffton School have taken it upon themselves to do their very best in protecting the environment.
In the story, a little girl comes across a beach littered with untold amounts of starfish which had been washed ashore after a terrible storm. One by one, the little girl began picking them up and returning them to the sea.
A short time later, a middle-aged man out for his morning jog noticed what the little girl was doing to which she replied, “saving the starfish.” The man shook his head and retorted, “But there are millions of them, what difference do you think you can make?” The little girl threw another starfish back into the sea and in a matter-of-fact voice said,
“It made a difference to that one.”
The man continued on his jog, but further down the beach, he paused, picked up a starfish and threw it into the sea.
The moral of the story? “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has,” said world-renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead.
“The Bluffton School Grade 4 class is that small group of thoughtful committed citizens and we make a difference,” said Teacher Mary Colclough. “In September we have committed to taking on the recycling program at Bluffton School. Every Friday we collect the recycled tetra packs, plastic juice and water bottles, and aluminum tins that the students, staff and visitors have thoughtfully put in the recycling containers around our school. Then we ready the recycle bins for another week.”
That’s not the only thing the students do on Fridays either as they also collect milk cartons and recycled paper from around the school, both of which are also headed for the recycling bins.
On other days, the students take turns rolling over their compost bin to aerate and speed up the composting process, which will later be used in the school’s flowerbeds and even that is resulting in another ‘green’ idea.
To provide nutrients for the composter, the kids also discard their apple cores and other fruit and vegetable matter into a vermiculture bin which, in turn, feeds worms the students are raising.
They’ve also committed to a number of other environmentally friendly projects as well.
“In October conducted a project to see how much water we can conserve by reducing the amount used in our older model toilet tanks. We are making a difference one flush at a time” Colclough said. “On October 9th, we also challenged ourselves to have a waste -free lunch with only compost being allowed and no garbage or plastic bags. Again, the message is: we can make a difference, one lunch at a time.”
As ambitious as they are, the Grade 4 students still needed a bit of help to get things up and running including from all the students and staff of the school along with Mrs. Bryanton who transports the recyclables to the depot in Rimbey and Claudia Boecking who donated a pound of worms to the class to kick-start their vermiculture project.
They also received a grant from one of the area’s most dedicated sponsors ConocoPhillips, which allowed many of the projects to get off the ground.
“We would also like to acknowledge our parents who help us make a difference and listen when we ask them for no-waste lunches and to use reusable bags when shopping,” Colclough added. “We know they care about our world too.”
The Grade 4’s are taking their message far beyond the school grounds as well and have invited any adults in the reading area to join them in their projects by donating their bottles, cans and tetra packs back to the school.
To make things as easy as possible, those wishing to donate can leave their recyclables in the name of Bluffton School at the Side Street Bottle Depot in Rimbey. As an added bonus, the donators don’t even have to wait through the sorting and counting process.
Of note, all proceeds raised through the Grade 4 recycling program will be returned to the school which, in turn, will benefit all the students.
For more information, the public is encouraged to visit: www.recycle.ab.ca/wrw