PORT HARDY—One year ago, students in Sean Barfoot’s Grade 6 class at Eagle View Elementary School turned a composting project into honourable mention selection in Science World B.C.’s fifth annual BC Green Games.
This year, students in the same class, calling themselves The Electric Circus, turned down the lights and turned up on the winner’s podium after submitting a video highlighting their efforts to save electricity.
Dining in the Dark was voted co-winner of the Elementary Viewer’s Choice Award and earned the school a $500 prize.
“The Electric Circus challenged classes to save energy by shutting their lights off at lunch by ‘Dining in the Dark,’” said Barfoot. “It was an amazing sight to see because, in the end, all the classes in the entire school participated.
The video, shot entirely on an iPod by student Emma Jensen, featured team leaders Georgia Walkus, Faith Castillo and Sydney Martineau introducing the program. They conducted interviews with students and visited classrooms at lunchtime to show students eating with the lights off.
“It feels special, because last year was our first time making a video and we didn’t think it was as good,” Circus member Georgia Walkus said. “We came back and people voted us number one.”
At the end of the challenge, The Electric Circus hosted a popcorn party for everybody who got involved — all 300 students.
Walkus, Castillo and Martineau all worked together the previous year on the composting video, and said that experience helped make this year’s project easier to organize.
“And we were teaching everybody how they can do it next year,” said Martineau.
For the students, the project is more than just a fun excuse to submit a video, one of 132 entered in the BC Green Games. They began by getting the school’s hydro use figures from School District 85 operations manager Darby Gildersleeve, and monitored changes in usage through the Dining in the Dark challenge. They will continue to use those usage figures as a baseline to monitor additional energy-saving challenges.
“We hope to continue our campaign by organizing other challenges this year and next, such as ‘Ice Age Days’ where students wear puffy sweaters and teachers turn the heat down by a few degrees,” said Barfoot.
“Our Electric Circus team of young environmentalists inspires us all to keep vigilant about sustainability,” said Frank MacLean, Eagle View principal. “Finding fun ways to promote awareness about the future of our environment will have a long-lasting effect on the way today’s youth serve the planet of tomorrow.”
The Electric Circus also consulted with mentors BC Hydro School Programs, Cape Scott Wind Farm, and thanked Barfoot, the Eagle View PAC and the school’s students and staff for their assistance in creating the winning video.
Science World manages BC Green Games with input from youth, government, school district, university, science and environmental education community partners. Presenting sponsors are BC Hydro and FortisBC.
The Electric Circus video, along with all other entries and last year’s Eagle View entry, can be viewed at bcgreengames.ca.