Grade 7s and city councillors compete in Earth Challenge

Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society hosts fun Earth Challenge at Columneetza

With students cheering from the bleachers behind them eight Lake City Secondary School Grade 7 teams of five students from each class, plus three representatives from city council went head to head in the annual Earth Challenge hosted last week by the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society.

The city team of Coun. Ivan Bonnell, Coun. Jason Ryll, and Coun. Laurie Walters were at a decided disadvantage as the Lake City Secondary School Columneetza campus students had prepared for the challenge weeks in advance by participating in informational workshops presented in their classrooms by experts in various fields of natural science, said Vanessa Moberg, conservation society co-ordinator.

The master of ceremonies and timekeepers for the event were conservation society directors and staff. Questions were put up on a big screen for all to answer in a given time period. Teams collaborated on the questions and wrote their answers on white boards for the judges to see. Questions were divided into five categories, air, water, waste, nature, and invasive plants.

Points were awarded for correct answers based on difficulty of the questions in points, Jeopardy game style, 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500 points etc.

Moberg said the students had an advantage over the council members in that they had participated in information modules in their regular school class that were taught by visiting specialists in various scientific disciplines in the weeks leading up to the Earth Challenge.

“The city council team held their own and did quite well considering they didn’t go through the program,” Moberg said.

“It was a valiant effort by the city.”

All eight participating school teams were awarded prizes of special field trips which they chose in order of how they ranked in the contest.

“For prizes, we gave out field trips to the eight participating teams, including Gavin Lake Forest Education Centre, Scout Island Nature Centre, Horsefly Spawning Channel, Waste Wise Transfer Station Tour and Litter Pick, and Biff’s Pond Fishing Trip,” Moberg said. “These experiential field trips are meant to continue the learning process and continue student engagement in stewardship activities.”

During the morning before the Earth Challenge, Friday, April 21 the conservation society set up information stations in the gymnasium which all of the Grade 7 students in groups moved through for presentations of about 25 minutes each.

The presentations were: Air Aware – Air Quality in Williams Lake; Mount Polley Environmental Department; Invasive Species Council of BC; Waste Wise presentation on soil, composting, and organic waste diversion; and several tables hosted by Fisheries and Oceans and Scout Island Nature centre where salmon were dissected and their life cycles and attributes discussed.