Alternatives to Using Road Salt
Our vision for Canada is a country where responsible alternatives are found to replace practices and materials that harm our environment. We believe that Canada can be a global leader in environmental innovation and improvement.
Our project focuses on the practice of applying salt to our nation’s roads in order to inhibit the formation of ice and to maintain drivers’ and pedestrians’ safety.
Every year, huge amounts of salt run from our roads and into our water systems. Our project studied the efficacy of alternatives to road salt in breaking down ice on asphalt, and then studied the impact that these alternatives have on aquatic environments.
Our project seeks to engage our students as change makers; we want our students to see themselves as empowered citizens able to identify viable alternatives to our planet’s environmental issues.
This project has brought together elementary classes with undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Guelph. Together, we have studied the problems and alternatives associated with the use of salt on our roads.
We believe that through interactions, such as this project, our Grade 5 and 6 students find role models and mentors among their university volunteers, which we hope will help them chart their own futures as environmental leaders.
Reflection & Celebration
Our project ran for approximately four months. It was difficult, at times, for the students to keep up their daily observations of changes in their teams’ respective aquariums, as well as to analyse all of the information and photographic records that accrued over the duration of this project.
As educators, we were struck by the overall engagement that the students had with the aquatic life in their aquariums. Students from other classes began coming at lunch to watch the progress of our experiments, as well. This rich level of engagement has encouraged us to integrate the study of environmental issues associated with aquatic habitats into our programs.