Jenny Howell is the water wise instructor and the executive director of the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society. (Photo submitted)

DOWN TO EARTH: Vaccines, and contemplating the next few months

I will still be careful; even with the vaccine aboard there could still be a small risk


Special to the Tribune

A year has gone by since it was slowly dawning on most of us that the two week shut down on our lives was not going to be just two weeks. A year since I started writing articles with my extra time without my regular school programs.

Yesterday I got my vaccine as part of the rural community program, for which I am overwhelmingly grateful. I also have some associated guilt. I know there are many that deserve and need it more than I do, but the rationale behind vaccinating complete rural communities makes logistical sense and each one of us vaccinated protects everyone around us and moves others up the list. I found the whole process very organized and efficient; from the booking system to receiving the vaccine.

It is mind boggling to think of the international brains and co-ordination that led to this in just a year, from vaccine development to manufacturing, delivery and finally the nurses in our local health unit driving out to Big Lake, drawing up the vaccine and gently pushing the plunger on the syringe into my arm, all without any fee to me. Sending off my taxes early this year felt like the least I could do to contribute.

So with a slightly sore arm today I am contemplating the next few months. I no longer have to squish the mild anxiety I had at the thought of teaching 200 grade 7s for the Earth Challenge over the first two weeks of April.

READ MORE: Good environmental stories to think about

I am still teaching outside and distanced, but there isn’t going to be that same reflection afterwards of all the times kids crowded in to look more closely, or whether the inevitable sneezes and coughs were within two metres. I can enjoy planning my spring field trips and revel in the thought of kids playing games outside in the community forest as they learn about the relationships between trees and water health and no longer worry I could be the threat to them. I will still be careful; even with the vaccine aboard there could still be a small risk I could transmit COVID, but this will become of less significance as more of the population also receives their vaccine.

The good environmental news story this week is about new developments in wind turbines. Several companies are working on new forms of wind turbines, without the large blades that can have effects on migrating bird and need such large land areas. They are designed to provide wind energy to urban areas; one version may attach to roofs and complement smaller solar systems for homes and businesses, another is designed to attach to streetlights and is powered by the air currents of passing cars. For more details, you can read the full article here:

Waste Wise Tip: You can greatly reduce your passive energy consumption by properly insulating and ventilating your attic.

For more information on Water Wise or Waste Wise and any of our school and community programs, contact the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society at or visit the website at

Jenny Howell is a Water Wise instructor and the executive director of the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society.

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