Students and staff at Joshua Creek Public School hope to make a positive mark on the environment by collecting used markers and donating them to a program to be converted into fuel.
Since the beginning of the school year, the Oakville school has collected more than 1,300 markers including white board markers and Sharpies. Grade 4 students in the school’s EcoClub, referred to as “Cougar Collectors”, visit classes and gather the markers from students and staff every two weeks.
The markers are donated to the Crayola company, as part of its ColorCycle program, where they are broken down and converted into fuel.
“We were looking for ways for our junior students to develop leadership skills,” explains teacher Tarryn Trimble. “This EcoClub seems to really appeal to this age group.”
“This experience has been rewarding and exciting, as it addresses student leadership, math connections through counting of the markers, and much more,” says teacher Erica Hack. “It’s an easy program to implement with great rewards.”
Eldana, a student in Grade 4, says this kind of project is an effective way to protect the environment.
“We have to make sure the planet is a nice and safe place to live. It is not only about us, it is also about the animals that live around here. My friends and I go around the school and people see us as ‘Cougar Collectors’, and they know that we are helping the environment.”
The curriculum connection to this recycling project focuses a lot on sustainability and stewardship, and applies to all grades, Trimble says. Stewardship involves understanding the need to use and care for the natural environment in a responsible way. Values central to responsible stewardship include using non-renewable resources with care, and reusing/recycling and switching to renewable resources where possible.
Students develop a number of other learning skills including initiative, responsibility and collaboration, adds Hack.
“I’m very supportive of an initiative in which students and staff come together for a common purpose,” says Janet Ricciardelli, Principal at Joshua Creek PS. “It fits our EcoSchool goals, as well as our equity and well-being goals of increasing students' sense of belonging.”
Through the use of plastic conversion technologies, Crayola’s ColorCycle
program has repurposed more than 70 tons of expended markers in the United States and Canada since 2013.