Unity Christian School in Barrie ripping up pavement
Unity Christian High School principal Aaron Harnden joins students Mika and Marissa to reclaim paradise at the school’s first de-pave event in Barrie on Earth Day. Students and community members helped remove pavement to make space for green initiatives such as rain gardens. SUBMITTED
(SUBMITTED) - Unity Christian High School in Barrie will be looking greener in the following months, thanks to a joint effort by students and community members who participated in Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority’s (LSRCA) first de-pave event on Earth Day.
The de-pave was the first step in a project that will green the school grounds, literally and figuratively. Once complete, the project will become a demonstration site that showcases low impact development (LID) and effective stormwater management techniques.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have helped reclaim a small piece of paradise at our first de-pave event in Barrie,” said Andee Pelan, watershed co-ordinator, LSRCA. “By removing hard surfaces like pavement and replacing it with permeable pavements and gardens, we are allowing rain to absorb into the ground naturally, preventing polluted run-off from reaching our lake untreated.”
Prior to the de-pave, the school's property was nearly 100% impervious, meaning that it was paved with hard, non-absorbent surfaces such as asphalt. Removing pavement and replacing it with plants allows for improved water infiltration and groundwater supply, as well as natural shading that will cool the school grounds and neighbouring properties.
“Teaching our students the vast benefits of green space is important to our school, and we hope that by de-paving our property, we will encourage our students, their families, and other schools and businesses to rethink the use and development of urban spaces,” said Aaron Harnden, school principal and teacher.
The removal of hard surfaces allows for the creation of LID features such as community gardens, permeable pavement and rain gardens. As part of their curriculum, Unity students will help with the design and creation of these features, with emphasis on rain garden design.
This phase of the project will be completed in partnership with Windfall Ecology Centre, the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation and R.J. Burnside and Associates Limited. The South Barrie Lions Club joined in the event and showed their support by providing a free community BBQ.