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Vernon students charged over CARE of environment

Public invited to check out Climate Action Ripple Effect summit
Seaton grade 11 French immersion students Cory Maksymchuk (left) and Chayse Brumpton explored a variety of simple home energy retrofits for their CARE project. (CARE photo)

The community is invited to see how future generations are making a difference.

Climate-action projects created by area students from Grades 7-12 will be judged by a panel of local climate experts and advocates at the Climate Action Ripple Effect (CARE) summit Dec. 1 at the Vernon Recreation Centre. The public is welcome to view the displays and chat with project creators and their mentors from 12:15-2:15.

The public can check out projects like Grade 11 Seaton students’ Chayse Brumpton and Cory Maksymchuk’s, identifying items in their own homes that can be made more energy efficient.

Brumpton’s wood-burning fireplace, for example, could be switched over to use gas, electricity, or water vapour, which would be more efficient and affordable, and prevent greenhouse gas emissions. But, as the students says, changes don’t have to be that ambitious.

“Small things like changing out lightbulbs can make a big difference overall.”

The spark for this project was ignited during COVID when the boys were housebound and thinking about how to make their homes more sustainable. Their current research shows that while some home energy retrofits can be technical, there are many simple ways to improve efficiency.

“We’re learning there’s lots of eco-friendly options that everyone can relate to it, even if you’re renting,” said Maksymchuk.

Mentoring the boys is Brendan Riome, the City of Vernon’s new climate action implementation coordinator. Brumpton says Riome has been “a huge help” and “relates well to our project personally and professionally.” Maksymchuk says Riome “takes our project seriously and is good at talking with youth.”

Riome believes strongly in community engagement and the climate action is generates, saying that “so many existing buildings need energy upgrades for us to meet our climate action goals. Youth will see the biggest effects of climate change, so having them understand the scope of needs and mobilizing their creativity and passion is vital.

“When you’re activating changed through the ripple effect, it’s hard to ignore what kids bring to the table.”

The judging panel has been divided into three groups, which are now reviewing online project synopses before the actual judging at the summit.

Hosted by Students Without Borders Academy, the event is truly designed and delivered for students by students.

The team judges are as follows:

Climate Commandos

- Ed Wilson Vernon Climate Action Advisory Committee

- Susan Ghattas North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club

- Brady Roger The Rogerie/Kelowna

Weather Warriors

- Cheryl Hood Allen Brooks Nature Centre

- Paul Britton School District 22

- Leanne Hammond Community Foundation of North Okanagan

Temperature Troopers

- Janelle Brewer Okanagan Indian Band

- Barry Jaquish Kalamalka Forestry Centre

- Barb Everdene City of Vernon

Prizes will be awarded for the top three overall, students’ choice, first in six categories (Nature and Biodiversity, Agriculture and Food, Energy and Buildings, Waste Reduction, Active Transportation, and Community Resilience), and five fun awards judged and presented by Students Without Borders Academy.

For more information visit

READ MORE: School, community show CARE for Vernon

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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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