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Vernon students take a break from the classroom to clean up wetlands

The students collected enough garbage to fill the school bin in just 45 minutes

Students in a Montessori-style high school program took a break from the regular curriculum to tidy up the wetlands near their school.

The students in the Awaken Inquiry and Adventure Okanagan (AIAO) program at Clarence Fulton Secondary School took note of an accumulation of trash near the school, and decided to do something about it.

“During our body breaks to the wetlands this week, post-spring break, we noticed an alarming buildup of trash, including wrappers, plastic bags, clothing, needles, traffic cones and even a collection of tires,” program staff said in a Facebook post Friday, April 5.

“Undeterred, our students armed themselves with trash bags, pickers, gloves, and cheerful spirits, to embark on a cleanup mission for this beloved space.”

The students collected enough garbage to fill the school bin in just 45 minutes, according to the post.

“This week, our focus has been on understanding the negative impacts of human interaction with the land, but more importantly, what actions we can take to make a positive difference in our community. In line with the City of Vernon Climate Action Plan and Objectives, as well as the students’ CARE Projects, we showcased how simple efforts like trash clean-ups can enhance ecosystem health and biodiversity by removing toxins and pollutants from our natural spaces,” the post reads.

The AIAO program was in jeopardy of being discontinued in 2024-25 due to a decline in student registration, the Vernon School District said in January. However, parents and students rallied around the program and boosted registration numbers to the point that the school district committed to continuing the program next school year and beyond.

READ MORE: Families succeed in keeping Montessori-style Vernon school program alive

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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started at the Morning Star as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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