Wildsight runs an educational program called Beyond Recycling to help Kimberley students learn more about their energy, waste and consumption.
This 24-week program, which began in 2006, has grown from one program in one community to 20 programs in 13 communities.
Dubbed “Beyond Recycling” because it takes students far beyond the 3 Rs many learned at an early age into new depths of understanding where waste comes from, where it goes and how human beings can make changes to reduce their impact on the planet.
“The length of the program really allows us to make connections and deep understanding of waste, energy, water, climate and sustainability,” said Kim Urbaniak, educator at Kimberley Beyond Recycling.
Part of this year’s program brought two 5th and 6th grade classes from McKim Middle School to the Save-On store in Kimberley, where they toured the store keeping in mind what they had learned about the waste reduction.
The tour included a behind-the-scenes tour to see the store’s new cake freezers and their -40C cold room, as well as the loading bay and its “Wall-E” cardboard compacting machine used for recycling.
From there, students headed to the Food Salvage Depot to learn about sorting food for the Food Bank, compost, farm animals and human redistribution. Students gained hands-on experience helping to sort produce and make bins for food bank families.
Through this excursion, students learned how big businesses can divert food waste, the rules governing what foods can be sold and when, and the difference between best before and best before dates. They also learned how the Healthy Kimberley Food Recovery Depot diverts food from the landfill.
“Beyond Recycling is an in-depth look at the impact of 5th and 6th graders’ lives on the planet,” Urbaniak said. “Hands-on, interactive lessons, activities and field trips examine both the negative and positive impacts we can have.”
Overall, student feedback was positive, with some commenting on the amount of food waste that actually exists in their community.