Selkirk Comp students Jenna Kowerko and Xavier Schneider take part in the Nutrien Caring for our Watersheds final competition at Oak Hammock Marsh on April 28. (Brook Jones/Selkirk Journal/Postmedia Network)
Two students from the Selkirk Comp proved just how much they care about the environment.
Students Xavier Schneider and Jenna Kowerko put together projects for Nutrien’s Caring for Our Watersheds program, which asked students to see what they can do to improve local watersheds in Manitoba.
Xavier put together a project entitled a Day in the Life of Netley-Libau Marsh, whereas, Kowerko pieced together her project called Making Beauty Sustainable.
Schneider, who lives in St. Clements, is most familiar with the Netley-Libau Marsh as he lives close by.
"It was my father, who always took us out boating on Lake Winnipeg and in order to get there we would launch at the Netley launch site and we would travel down river and through the Netley-Libau Marsh," Schneider said.
He noted that open water in the marsh has increased dramatically during the past decade, which he says is unhealthy for the marsh.
"Over the past 10 years, I have noticed less ducks, fewer eagles and fewer amphibians," Schneider said.
Both students presented their projects in front of a panel of judges while participating in the final competition for caring For our watersheds at Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre April 28.
Kowerko, who is a Grade 12 student at the Selkirk Comp, is studying cosmetology and explained how the local school program is committed to reducing its environmental impact.
"We have a beautiful community and we should do as much as we can to keep it that way," she said. "Even if we can get our school to make a change, it will make a big difference to the environment and to our local watershed."
Nutrien’s Caring for Our Watersheds program is open to students in Grades 7 to 12 and provides an opportunity for students to compete either individually or as a team. Students then had to research their local watershed, identify any environmental concern and determine a solution.
"It took a long time to prepare the Powerpoint and make it in the six minute span," Kowerko said. "We got the opportunity at the beginning of the semester and we've been preparing ever since then. I think I did really well."
Manager of operations for the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre Natalie Bays said it's incredibly inspiring to see the ideas that the students are coming up with.
"We've been running this contest for seven years and we've been completely blown away," Bays said. "The ideas that they're coming up with can be used year to year. A lot of them are not a one time fix. There is something that they are trying to get kick started in their school and that will continue on for generations so that have a long term impact.
This year, there were more than 280 submissions from more than 360 students from 15 schools in Manitoba.
“Across the lines for the Manitoba curriculum now is education for sustainable development and that has a lot to do with calls to action,” Bays said. “It’s linked with the curriculum and we’re getting the kids out there and actually doing a call to action. We’ve mentoring them and coaching them and providing the funding through our sponsor Nutrien.”
Students competed for more than $3,500 cash rewards and participating schools were eligible for $6,000 cash rewards. There is also $10,000 in funding available to help implement ideas.