First Things First Okanagan wants to bring the BC Sustainable Energy Association’s Cool It! Climate Leadership Training program to elementary schools in Penticton. The program has been successfully implemented in two elementary schools in the area, one in Summerland and one in Kelowna. (Photo from Pexels)

First Things First Okanagan wants to bring the BC Sustainable Energy Association’s Cool It! Climate Leadership Training program to elementary schools in Penticton. The program has been successfully implemented in two elementary schools in the area, one in Summerland and one in Kelowna. (Photo from Pexels)

FTFO seeks Penticton’s support for climate leadership program in city’s elementary schools

Society partnered with BCSEA to offer Cool It! Climate Leadership Training in Summerland, Kelowna

Penticton youth concerned about climate change may be receiving some special education from First Things First Okanagan (FTFO) and the BC Sustainable Energy Association (BCSEA).

FTFO is a non-profit society that promotes awareness awareness of climate change in the region and advocates for climate action. The society presented to Penticton city council during the committee of the whole on Nov. 5 to gain council’s “emotional and financial support” for the Cool It! Climate Leadership Training program developed by the BCSEA, which has been successfully implemented in middle schools in Summerland and Kelowna.

“The program was developed in 2007 by the BCSEA and has been presented to about 2,700 classes since that time, mostly in the Lower Mainland. It has reached approximately 70,000 students and their families in encouraging them to reduce their carbon footprint,” said Kathleen Davies, a member of FTFO. “The program involves a local educator trained by the BCSEA who connects with the schools that FTFO have contacted and arranged to have their classes involved. The local educator connects with the teachers in advance of going into the schools and presenting a workshop to each of the classes involved. The workshop is motivational, encourages the students with videos, games and quizzes.

“It’s an interactive workshop and each class gets 90 minutes with the educator.”

READ MORE: First Things First Okanagan speaker explores climate change and B.C. wildfires

Davies explained that the trained educator and the class teacher make the program applicable to each class by looking at “their current practices in terms of energy use.” Following the workshop, the students are invited to participate in a four-week challenge at home with their families to reduce their impact through ways identified in the presentation.

“Once the info is collected at the end of the four weeks, it is sent to the BCSEA who calculate the actual greenhouse gas reductions that the practices of the students and their families have resulted in,” said Davies. “That data is then forwarded to the sponsors of the program.”

Four classes at the Summerland Middle School and four classes at the Dorothea Walker Elementary School in Kelowna have participated in the program thanks to efforts by FTFO. The society said it has “three classes lined up at the KVR Middle School” in Penticton that “are eager to participate in the program in Spring 2020.”

“We are anticipating a further three classes participating, possibly at KVR Middle School or Skaha Middle School, to be involved in this particular challenge. The challenge involves six classes competing against each other for the greatest greenhouse gas emissions reduction,” said Davies. “The cost of the program for six classes is $3,800 – and that is made up of $550 per class and covers the educator compensation, all the materials the students use, the prizes for the winning classes and students and also the calculation of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions and reporting.”

Davies stated that to date, School District 67 has not contributed financially to this program. She added that the society is hoping to have the city’s decision regarding its support by the new year.

READ MORE: First Things First Okanagan speaker compares Liberal, Conservative climate records

“On average, participate students and their families have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by about one tonne of C02 per month, which is the month of their involvement. If their is anxiety in students about the extremity (of climate change), the point is to get students involved in addressing the problem,” said Davies. “This creates a culture of action that these kids can use and hopefully take with them as they develop and into their whole lives. In other words, a break from school learning to real life decision making.”

“This is encouraging and I so agree with your comment that children are anxious, we’re seeing it worldwide, and this is giving them a tool to do something,” said Coun. Judy Sentes. “Certainly the city has obligations regarding greenhouse emissions and I think this could be an excellent partnership that would have long, long reaching effects I would hope with these young people.”

Because FTFO missed the August deadline to apply for a grant for this program from the city, applications already received will be addressed by council first during the upcoming budget discussions. As a result, this request for support will be addressed early in 2020 once the budget is approved.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
JordynThomson 
Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crystal Johns used her lunch break to film her audition video for the Vancouver Canucks.
VIDEO: Former Vees anthem singer wants to bring her voice to the Canucks

Crystal Johns made her audition tape during a lunch break

Flooding has become a reality for many communities in the Okanagan Valley as the region faces more extreme weather storms, blamed on the impact of climate change. (File photo)
Okanagan high target for spring flooding

Higher snowpack and mild winter precipitation levels raise concerns for Canada’s insurance industry

The Village of Keremeos is preparing to open up the village to in-province travellers as the province enters Phase 3 of its reopening plan. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Electric vehicle use continues to rise in Keremeos

August saw 147 vehicles for the peak of the year

The Okanagan Regional Library is holding a pair of online contests for its young readers. (File photo)
Okanagan Regional Library challenges young readers

Pair of contests online aimed at kids aged up to 18

Penticton Real Canadian Superstore
New COVID case at Penticton Superstore

The last day the employee worked was Jan. 21

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

A Dodge Ram pickup similar to this one was involved in a hit-and-run in Lake Country on Saturday, Jan. 16. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Stolen truck involved in Okanagan hit-and-run

Incident happened on Highway 97 in Lake Country just before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Most Read