Arden Elementary is a finalist for the Staples Superpower Your School contest. Photo courtesy of Comox Valley Schools/Facebook

Arden Elementary named a finalist in environmental contest

The 10 winning schools will be announced sometime in April

A Courtenay elementary school is being recognized for their environmental initiatives.

The top 100 finalists for the Staples Superpower your School competition were released recently and Arden Elementary School made the list.

Nearly 500 schools entered the competition and were judged based on their work to incorporate environmentally friendly programs and initiatives into the school, and for demonstrating a long-term commitment towards a healthier environment.

“These 100 finalists were chosen because their institutions stand out for their environmental leadership to teach current and future generations about the importance of sustainable development,” said Deb Doncaster, president of Earth Day Canada in a news release.

Sara Kerr, a Grade 1 teacher at the school, said Arden is constantly coming up with new ways to teach the kids about nature and how to contribute to a healthier planet.

The school has done garbage free lunches, zero waste weeks, and school assemblies about recycling. Teachers have also made a conscious effort to cut down on paper waste by using more technology and online resources in the classroom. The school also has an outdoor classroom including a garden, and kids are sometimes brought into the forest behind the school to learn about the different plants, animals and how to protect nature.

“We start them in Kindergarten with a very outdoor, nature type program, and being in such close proximity to the river and to our forests, I think we just feel we need to educate them about that and the importance of that,” said Kerr.

Ten prizes of $20,000 worth of technology products will be awarded to ten lucky finalist schools sometime in April.

To learn more about the contest and to see a full list of finalists, visit https://bit.ly/2rCf5yX

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