2021, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Chinemerem Chigbo, a student at Miles Macdonell Collegiate in Winnipeg, Manitoba, wanted to create a fun and interactive way to learn about his watershed. He decided to create a video game to help educate students about the Lake Winnipeg Watershed.
“Throughout this journey, I have learned a lot about watersheds, done plenty of research as to what makes a great game, and have remolded my original idea into what it is today.”
2021, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Victoria Gordon Pagard from West Kildonan Collegiate in Winnipeg, MB noticed the increased amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) waste that was popping up in her community, particularly at her school where masks had become mandatory during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Single-use plastics are used so often, but not much thought goes into what happens to that plastic once it has served its purpose.”
She noted that the City of Winnipeg had encouraged people to throw disposable masks in the garbage instead of the recycling so that they would not get caught in machinery or pose health risks to recycling employees.
“My proposal works to address this situation and offer a solution that is both sustainable and safe!”
Victoria ordered TerraCycle PPE recycling boxes to have around her school to help safely dispose of used PPE during the pandemic. Even after the pandemic, these boxes will be helpful in science labs around the school. TerraCycle also offers other recycling boxes for items such as art supplies, coffee capsules, and markers which could be utilized by the school, as well.
2021, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Xavier Schneider, a student at Lord Selkirk Regional Comprehensive Secondary School, wanted to create an educational resource to teach Manitoba students about the importance of the Netley-Libau marsh that borders Lake Winnipeg. He decided to create a documentary to not only educate people, but to take them there on a virtual “visit”, as well. This resource can be used by students, teachers, and anyone who wishes to learn more about the importance that this vast wetland holds for the Lake Winnipeg watershed.
“Located at the mouth of the Red River and the south end of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada, Netly-Libau Marsh is one of the largest and most important coastal wetlands in North America. This is its story.”
2021, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
When Katelyn Panchoo from École Seven Oaks Middle School in Winnipeg, MB interviewed students at her school, she found out that many of them pick up their dog’s waste using regular plastic bags. She thought about all the plastic waste that must be thrown in the trash, and thought that she could help reduce it by proposing biodegradable dog bags!
“Dog waste and dog bags have a bigger impact on our watersheds than you think.”
She created a virtual presentation about the way that dog waste and plastic dog bags can impact her watershed that her school mates were able to watch online, and then samples of the biodegradable bags were distributed to students with pets at home. Katelyn hopes that these students and their families will make the permanent switch to these eco-friendly bags and encourage others to do so, as well!
2020, Warren, MB, CANADA
Hannah Friesen from Warren, MB decided to tackle the issue of the impact that disposable menstrual products are having on our environment. How could she get people to change the products they use? It’s difficult to sway people from what they are used to, so she came up with the idea to add environmentally friendly period products into her school’s Health program. Cloth pads, leak-proof underwear, biodegradable tampons, and menstrual cups were added to a kit that teachers can use to educate their students on these eco-friendly options before they get used to the more harmful disposable ones.
“I want people to know that there are other options that would help our environment and keep our watershed and landfills free of the pollution from these products.”
2020, Winnipeg, MB, CANADA
Tess from West Kildonan Collegiate in Winnipeg, MB was so passionate about reducing the use of plastic straws in our environment, that she distributed 1000 reusable straws to her classmates! She created educational presentations to deliver to classes at her school about negative effects of plastic straws, and had students post on social media with their new metal straws.
“Our entire planet is suffering, and it is time to stand up and do something about it. You can make a difference, you can be the change, you can use a metal straw.”
2020, Carman, MB, CANADA
Ahmed, Colton, Gene, & Dorian are students from Carman, MB who wanted to take action on air pollution in their community. They thought that if there were more bike racks in their town, it might encourage more people to ride their bikes instead of driving. To start, they had a new bike rack installed at their school, and they plan to encourage students to have walk or bike-to-school days.
“Our project is on air pollution, and our goal is to make more bike stands so more people will walk and bike to reduce air pollution.”
2019, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Ava and Allynah are students at École Leila North Community School in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They wanted to reduce the amount of disposable plastics ending up in our watershed, so they came up with a plan to distribute reusable sandwich containers to students at their school.
“Many people throw items away not thinking of the damage it can lead to. Because of that, there is more pollution and it is not only harming us, but animals as well. If you look around, you will always see garbage on the ground, no matter where you are.”
They did presentations to each class to educate their fellow students while handing out the containers. The school’s canteen partnered with the girls to help promote the use of their containers and to offer a discount on drinks if students brought their own bottles to fill.
2019, Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada
Sarah Cadotte, a student from Lord Selkirk Regional Comprehensive Secondary School, wanted to tackle the issue of microplastics in our watershed that come from fibres that drain out of our washing machines when we clean our clothes. She found a product that helps filter out these tiny pieces of fibre by attaching to washing machine drainage hoses. She obtained permission to have three of them installed within her school division. The filters can be emptied into the trash where the plastic pieces can be properly disposed of, rather than making their way into our water systems.
“If I can inspire my community to take action, even in something as small as installing a filter, then maybe there’s a greater hope that eventually, more people can become more economically aware of what’s going on in our waters and how even the smallest things can make great impacts.”
2019, Pilot Mound, Manitoba, Canada
Colin Hildebrand, Joryn Buchanan, Donovan Kimball, and Riley Kimball are all students at Pilot Mound Collegiate in Pilot Mound, MB. When they were posed with the question of what they could do to improve their watershed, their thoughts took them outside to their schoolyard.
“Our problem lies in the excess water that our school ground produces and contends with… So how do we help manage excess water and potential pollutants?”
In speaking with the school’s custodian, they were able to see where drainage water flowed, accumulated, and moved across the school property. They realized that this runoff water could be picking up contaminants and sending them into local waterways and could also be contributing to flooding issues in their area. They approached their local conservation district (CD), the Pembina Valley CD, to discuss ways to mitigate these issues. Together, they came up with the idea of rain gardens along the natural swale running through the school yard to filter runoff, increase water infiltration, and reduce pollutants entering nearby waterways.
“We [will] create three rain gardens [along the existing swale]… The rain gardens will slow the water using berms, and the native plants will create more infiltration into the soil due to their large root systems.”