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Toronto Catholic District School Board

The Grass is Always Greener on the Mary Ward Side
By: Patrisha Ranin
It is often said that today’s children will inherit the world. The future rests heavily on their—actually, our—small, unfledged shoulders. But considering the deterioration of the Earth’s forestry, the rising of the world’s temperature, and the various issues our environment faces nowadays, what kind of future are the children of the world bound to inherit? The only solution is to start early: with the education of today’s generation in the ways of a greener lifestyle—which is what Green Quest is all about.

Green Quest is Mary Ward’s own environmental club. green quest boxComposed of high school students from all grade levels, they meet weekly every Wednesday to discuss volunteer opportunities in the surrounding community. For instance, tree-planting and shoreline clean-ups are just a sample of recently completed activities. These endeavours are pursued with the assistance and guidance of the teachers, of course. Everyone is welcome to contribute their own opinions and share eco-friendly ideas or shed light on any concerns they may have. It is also in these gatherings that we plan and organize our campaigns for the year, the major ones being Waste Reduction Week, which occurred this past October, and Earth Week, which will be held next April.

This year’s Waste Reduction Week was a five-day campaign to raise awareness on the amount of waste we amass on a daily basis and how our natural resources can be preserved. During the week, Green Quest held several activities centered on water and energy conservation, including the recycling of electronic devices, batteries and paper, as well as the use of water containers in contrast to plastic water bottles. The campaign was successful: the Mary Ward school community participated enthusiastically in all the activities held and through their cooperation, they also showed their newfound knowledge about the environment.
Green Quest has also been responsible for the construction of a Vegetable and Butterfly Garden right on Mary Ward’s backyard. Through the cooperation of students and teachers, tomato and zucchini crops have been planted and tended to for the past couple of summers, bearing healthy fruits—or, well, vegetables. The Butterfly Garden, on the other hand, is a fairly new project that only began last year. A group of students did extensive research on which plants and flowers attracted which types of birds and bees; information that was then drafted onto the official proposal plan and design. The actual building of the garden is still in the works, but the preparation of the site has begun.

students planting treesThe success of Green Quest, of course, not only lies within the members of the club, but also with the involvement of people outside it. Our club’s influence has branched out so far into our school that, this year, thinking of solutions to problems of the environment has been integrated as a part of the Grade 9 science course. Grade 9 students are tasked with proposing a plausible and feasible solution to an environmental problem they see in their community. The purpose of the
project is to have students take a step outside the classroom and get invested in the world they live in. There is also a chance for these project proposals to be carried out.
The children who will, in the near future, inherit the earth from the previous generation should learn early on of the several environmental issues found in our world. School clubs like Green Quest are improving youth awareness by having students truly connect with the environment and collaborate towards making any desired changes. If everyone focused on nature and its needs a little more, it would be so much easier to preserve it, and we, the next generation of leaders, should put the Earth that gave us our necessities above anything else.