Vernon students plant a greener future

Okanagan Landing Elementary students Olivia Huss and Kailei Yip aid in hillside restoration. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)
Shelby Ratcliffe and Danike Morris participate in restoration. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)
Sheila Monroe, Okanagan Landing teacher, gives her students a hands-on lesson via the hillside restoration project. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)
Caden O”Dwyer, Bridget Grant (parent volunteer), Rylan Ketterer hard at work. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)
Students Rylan Ketterer and Aidyn Eckert-Larivier planting and watering shrubs. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)
Aiden Swallow waters some of the recently planted shrubs on the hillside behind Okanagan Landing Elementary. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)
Nash Steele waters plants on the hillside behind Okanagan Landing Elementary. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)
Shelby Ratcliffe hard at work planting. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)
Okanagan Landing Elementary students participate in Hillside restoration. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)
Khadija Asif and Shelby Ratcliffe take part in class’ hillside restoration project. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)
Okanagan Landing Elementary students participate in Hillside restoration. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)

Some Vernon students got down and dirty recently in an effort to restore the natural beauty to their school yard.

Grade 4 and 5 students at Okanagan Landing Elementary planted trees behind the school as part of a hillside restoration project Thursday, April 25.

Related: Vernon students aid battle against yellow flag iris

The project garnered support from the Toronto Dominion Environmental Fund, from which they received a $7,600 grant. Paired with other donations, including additional plants from the Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society, teacher Sheila Monroe said the students were able to plant more than 100 shrubs, grasses and other indigenous plants.

“The shrubs and plants are all indigenous plants to this area and that’s what’s on the hillside, plus indigenous grasses,” said Monroe. “That’s what we’re planting because that’s what the hillside would have been like 200 years ago.”

Almost 30 students, as well as volunteers, spent about four hours on the hill behind the school in attempt to re-naturalize the grounds. Monroe said her goal was to teach the kids about various plants and their importance — especially pertinent following Earth Day, which took place three days prior.

“This is the kind of stewardship, that when we talk about climate change, these kids understand that what they’re doing is actually helping because this hillside will be less likely to slide, all of these plants will help keep the air clean in our area and it will help the pollinators and wildlife in our area,” she said. “That’s what they’re coming away with — well, that and pride.”

Related: A garden grows at Okanagan Landing

Related: Class not just painting flowers

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