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.

Just Posted

Overtime heroics help Vees to 2-1 overtime victory

Vees cracked Chenard late in the overtime frame, with only 15 seconds remaining in extra time

Pecha Kucha returns to Cannery Brewing to Move It on Dec. 5

Speakers for the upcoming show haven’t been announced yet.

Summerland takes the 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge

Take on Radon and the Summerland Healthy Community Initiative are partnering on the campaign.

Vees take 6-3 win against rival Salmon Arm Silverbacks

Vees’ Jay O’Brien and Lukas Sillinger both had multiple-point games.

Interior Health issues warning about opioid-laced stimulants causing recent overdoses

Interior Health is urging residents using or considering using drugs to reconsider… Continue reading

Abortions rights advocates urge Liberals to turn politics into policy

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was pressed to clarify his stance abortion over several weeks

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Dallas Smith, Terri Clark to perform on CP Holiday Train’s B.C. stops

Annual festive food bank fundraiser rolling across province from Dec. 11 to 17

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

Most Read