TRHS Climate Education Day
For our action project, the environment club at Tantramar Regional High School (TRHS) decided to host a climate education day for the entire school. Currently, there is no climate curriculum being taught in local schools, so many students at TRHS are not aware of the climate emergency. By the end of our climate education day, we wanted students to have a base-level understanding of both the science of climate change as well as its social impacts, knowledge of what’s being done locally to address climate change and get the chance to take meaningful action.
To begin the education component of the day, students watched a video that was sent from our local MLA of a statement she delivered in the legislature on climate change. Following this message, I delivered a presentation on climate change that summarized the science of climate change, climate injustice and how climate change connects to other issues and different ways of taking action on a variety of scales. To ensure students actually listened to my presentation, I made a Kahoot game with questions based on what I had covered in my talk, and we had prizes for the top three finishers.
For the community engagement part of the day, we invited a variety of local environmental NGOs and community groups into the school to set up booths that showcased the climate action work they are doing. We had eight tables set up, and students rotated through, learning about local climate actions being taken. To incentivize participation in this part of the day, we set up a passport system where each student was given a “climate action passport” with places to receive stamps from each of the visiting tables after having listened to their presentation. If they collected a minimum of four stamps, they could drop their passport in a box, and we drew from there for a selection of prizes.
To give TRHS students a chance to take meaningful action, we partnered with the Fundy Biosphere Reserve to host a tree-planting event. Fundy Biosphere Reserve brought roughly 300 red spruce seedlings and planting equipment and taught students how to plant trees properly. The trees were planted on school property in the forest that surrounds the school. Students really enjoyed this part of the day, and we were lucky enough to have perfect weather for being outside.
The largest potential issue we identified as we were planning this event was a lack of student engagement. At events like these, it’s easy for students to go on their phones during the presentation or to chat with their friends instead of visiting the tables. Lack of student engagement has the potential to completely ruin an event like this that’s dependent on student participation, so that’s why a lot of our funding was put toward prizes. We think this had a real impact on student engagement, because at a presentation later that afternoon, there were no incentives to pay attention, and significantly more students were on their phones. For the prizes, we purchased products with minimal packaging from local small businesses to ensure that the values of sustainability were held throughout all aspects of the day.
Another part of the funding was put toward small thank you gifts for the guests from the community who came in to set up tables. Their presence brought a lot to the day, and it was nice to be able to show them our gratitude by giving them a few small gifts from local businesses.
In terms of value for the community, the tree planting will be greatly appreciated. The outdoor education teacher who uses the school’s forest as her classroom has commented on the number of trees we’ve lost recently due to hurricanes, and she is glad to know they will be replaced as these new trees grow. All future TRHS students will benefit. It was also significant to bring in so many local NGOs. A lot of students were unaware of the community groups who came in, so this climate education day provided the perfect opportunity for these groups to spread the word about the work they do. Many groups had students sign up as potential volunteers. Especially for the older students who are looking for future career opportunities, it was valuable for them to see the opportunities to be involved in environmental work in the region.
We received a lot of positive feedback from students, staff, and the community groups who came in. Students said they learned a lot and enjoyed themselves, teachers were impressed by student engagement and how well organized the day was, and the community groups were appreciative of the chance to be involved. We have wanted to put on this event for a while, but lack of funding has always been a barrier. We are so grateful to LSF for the funding to host this climate education day!
Check out more videos and pictures from the day!