Projects from Saskatoon Public Schools students that tackled subjects ranging from plastic waste to water conservation to bee populations took top spots during the recent Caring For Our Watersheds final competition.
The competition, sponsored by Partners For the Saskatchewan River Basin, asked students in Grade 7-12 to research a local watershed and provide a solution to an environmental concern in a 1,000-word proposal. Entries were judged on innovation, environmental impact, comprehensive scope, communication, budget, realistic solution and use of visuals.
Six of the 10 projects selected as finalists for the event came from students in Saskatoon Public Schools.
First place and the $1,000 top prize went to "No Plastic Is Fantastic: An Economically Feasible Plastic Phase Out," by Greystone Heights School students Rafay Ahmed, Josh Bell, and Saabir Yousuf. The project aims to reduce the plastic consumption at the school by educating people about the harm of single-use plastics through a river cleanup, a focus on awareness, and, in the long run, creating a competition to reduce single-use plastic at the school.
Shaun Vorster, a ScienceTrek student from Montgomery School, place second with "The Soda Tap!" The project tackled the issue of water wasted by running a faucet for small tasks. The Soda Tap, a two-litre bottle fitted with a small tube, would allow users to squeeze the bottle when they require small amounts of water, thereby reducing waste from a running tap. Inspiration for the project came from ways in which people conserved water during the South African drought of 2017-18.
Lauren Wright, an Off The Grid student at Tommy Douglas Collegiate, placed third with "Bees For Our Watersheds." She built and will distribute bee houses as a way to encourage more bees in the city. Providing habitats for bees will increase the amount of crop and garden pollination and reduce residential fertilizer use.
"Plan Bee" from Greystone Heights students Dishita Emayan and Cindy Li proposed a garden with an assortment of bee-friendly flowers to help protect endangered bee species. The project, which earned fifth-place recognition, notes bees play a crucial role in food production.
Brunskill School students Gabrielle Corbett-Mills and Sabri Bhargava placed sixth with their project "Garbage Gobbler," which involved the construction and decoration of a special garbage can for the schoolyard. The can has an attached recycling bin to prevent garbage from ending up in the river. Recyclables will be taken to SARCAN and funds donated to environmental initiatives that will help the watershed.
A plan to create a safe active transportation network for younger students at Colette Bourgonje School earned students Dilsher Braich, Alex Huang, and Huy Nguyen ninth place. "Locomotion Buddies" would see older students and other community volunteers recruited to walk young students in the Rosewood neighbourhood to and from school.