Innisdale Secondary School students help 'green' up the grounds
Katleya Young-Chin, left, of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, helps Innisdale Secondary School students, Ryan Duarte and Corey McCulloch, plant some of the 125 trees, Thursday, donated by the authority to the school's environmental studies Eco Club. With them is the teacher Kit Cairns. CHERYLBROWNE/BARRIE EXAMINER
A letter written in September and an ice storm in March enabled Barrie students' tree planting project in May.
Innisdale Secondary School students Ryan Duarte, 18, and Corey McCulloch, 16, hauled shovels up a small ridge behind a portable and surveyed their handiwork.
Only a quarter of the way through their plans of planting 125 trees and shrubs Thursday morning, the senior students were proud of the efforts their Green Team/Eco Club was making to help their school become more environmentally friendly.
“The trees give us more air to breathe because they produce oxygen,” Duarte said. “They help the water cycle, help with storm water run-off and clean the air of carbon dioxide, too.”
Digging from a depleting mound of wood chips donated by the City of Barrie – from the trees cut down after the ice storm – the environmental science class team was also reaping the benefits of a donation from the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA).
In September, senior student Erin McKinnon petitioned the LSRCA through the Landowner Environmental Assistance Program (LEAP) for a donation of the trees and shrubs for the project.
LSRCA's Katleya Young-Chin said the LEAP program, as well as funds from the federal Lake Simcoe Clean Up Fund, covered the $1,600 cost of the white spruce trees, staghorn sumac, meadowsweet and nine bark shrubs the students were planting.
“We chose native plants that are drought resistant,” Young-Chin said.
Principal Dawn Stephens said Thursday's efforts were an important benchmark in the school's history.
“We've got a lot of old growth trees, but this is the first time we've planted any new trees at Innisdale,” Stephens said.
“The best part is, it was a student who initiated this project. It was so cool the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority provided the grant. This isn't something we could have done without them,” she added.
Environmental science teacher Kit Cairns was directing the project behind the school on Friday. One week earlier, the Eco Club had installed three rain barrels under the down spouts of the portables' eavestroughs that Cairns says he hopes will help water the new trees and shrubs.
In addition to trees and rain barrels, Innisdale's Green Team has helped begin the process of using reusable utensils in the cafeteria, installing bat and bird boxes, and with the help of a $3,000 donation from Honda Canada in Alliston, is creating an outdoor classroom.