The St. Anthony and Area Boys and Girls Club is learning to be a better friend to the environment.
The Conservation Corps of Newfoundland and Labrador (CCNL) provided the club with four Green Team members, starting on July 2 and concluding on Aug. 23.
Malcolm Pilgrim, Crystal Colbourne, Sarah Sutton and team leader Jasmine Hillier were hired to connect with children and teach them about environmental awareness.
Club members gained “hands-on experience and an opportunity to appreciate the natural world," a press release from CCNL said.
As the summer draws to a close, Hillier reflected on some of their achievements.
She said the Green Team promoted awareness of consumption patterns and ways consumption can be reduced.
“Now that we’re seeing that recycling isn’t working as well as we’d like it to – there are lots of complications with it – we’re trying to bring awareness to how much we’re consuming and how we can reduce that,” she told The Northern Pen.
“The children are really noticing that’s one of the hardest parts. So, we’re doing small things every single day.”
For example, club members have started to reuse water bottles. Hillier said one child who forgot to bring his water bottle, reused a paper cup throughout the day.
It made a strong impression.
“That small example of him doing that is a drastic change,” she said. “Because before, they were used to just using a cup, crushing it up, throwing it out and 20 minutes later grabbing a new cup.”
The youth are also reusing plastic cutlery, turning off lights to use less electricity, and trying to run less water.
“They’re starting to come up with these ideas on their own,” said Hillier. “Just little things where they try to remind each other, and remind us as leaders sometimes, too, to watch what we’re doing and how much we’re using.”
The Green Team has also tried to establish the importance of food security and being able to grow your own food.
Hillier says food insecurity in Newfoundland and Labrador can be an issue and believes it’s important to practice self sufficiency.
“If you can secure food in your own backyard, then that’s ideal,” she said.
Therefore, a lot of work has gone into the garden the team and club members have been growing at the Grenfell Interpretation Centre.
The garden was donated to them by the Grenfell Historic Society. They’ve been free to grow whatever they want.
“We gave them a little bit of knowledge about how to plant seeds and what you should do, but we really wanted them to experiment with it and come up with their own ideas,” said Hillier.
On one occasion, the team was eating fruit salad with the kids and they decided to try planting the leftovers.
Now, there are apple trees growing as well as some strawberry plants.
“They really do love this,” she said. “It’s never a chore to get them to go to the garden. The ones who like it, they really love it.”
Hillier also credited CCNL as a “really positive organization to work with.”
“I think so many young kids in Newfoundland should know they have the opportunity to get on with organizations like this,” she added.
For two of the team members, high school students Crystal Colbourne and Sarah Sutton, it was their first ever job.
“I have been enjoying my summer to the fullest,” said Colbourne in a CCNL press release. “The Green Team is a great program and has already taught me so much. I’m glad I got the chance to work with such an amazing team.”