Green VI celebrated Earth Day 2014 by kicking off a project to ‘green’ the Ivan Dawson Primary School. Co-ordinating with local sustainability leaders, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Cane Garden Bay Community, parents and staff of the Ivan Dawson Primary School and over 100 FusionStorm volunteers the activities commenced on April 29th.
They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, well this one began with one glass award. Back in 2013, a representative of FusionStorm an US based IT company saw a glass award at Green VI and decided to order 100 of them for the corporate gift to their top employees. Upon learning more about Green Vi’s mission beyond the glass studio, FusionStorm then sent these top employees to us for a day of change at the Ivan Dawson School. These awesome individuals along with over 100 students of Ivan Dawson began work on several greening projects along the themes of water, waste, energy and environmental education.
On the 7th March, Calvert Charleswell conducted an energy and water audit. On April 29th, based on the recommendations made, teams worked to retrofit the school with LED lights (sponsored by FusionStorm) and reduce the energy bill by 40%. Once the retrofit is complete, Green VI hopes to raise enough funds to have solar energy panels placed on this school and use the school as a pilot project for grid-tie where the energy can be fed back into the grid.
A recycling station was set up at the school with glass going to Green VI’s Glass Studio. A composting system will be built (as funding becomes available) that will take organic waste and turn it into compost. As a further demonstration of using waste as a resource old tyres were used to upgrade the playground equipment. Clearwater sponsored re-useable water bottles with the school logo for Ivan Dawson students with the aim to reduce unnecessary waste produced by the school that needs to be burned at Pockwood Pond. The BVI Spring Regatta sponsored re-usable water bottles for the FusionStorm volunteers.
Numerous options to ensure that good quality drinking water is available to the children are being explored. Green VI is working closely with the Ministry of Education on details.
On the 29th April, numerous environmental education activities including outdoor games and a film festival took place. It is hoped that a draft environmental education strategy will be one of the long-term outcomes of this project.
Other sustainability related activities:
Like many other schools and businesses in the BVI, the Ivan Dawson Primary School has experienced problems related to high levels of mold in the school buildings. There is concern about the impact that this may be having on the health of students and staff. The Ministry of Education has begun addressing the problem by fixing leaks. Green VI, with the assistance of local company Marima Byosafe Services conducted a mold removal exercise at the school followed by repainting the interior of the school with Benjamin Moore Eco-Spec WB Silver, an environmentally safe paint containing silver. This silver will inhibit the regrowth of mold and tests will be conducted to measure the effectiveness of the remediation efforts. It is hoped to paint the outside of the school with zero Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) paint but permission to change the colour of the school to brighter and fresher hues is pending.
Landscaping of the school and the development of school gardens
A landscape plan for the school is being approved by the Ivan Dawson PTA. The BVI National Parks Trust and the Agricultural Department provided plants and technical assistance for the day. School gardens provide a practical teaching tool for teachers. Through a well-designed gardening project, students can learn the following:
- How to grow your own food (food security)
- How to make value-added products from food grown (such as jams, jellies and sauces)
- How to create your own compost
- Business and management skills such as marketing, entrepreneurial skills and accounting skills
- How to leverage technology to enhance production in your garden (aquaponics, hydroponics etc.)
Green VI hopes that this project will become a model for BVI schools to be greener, cleaner and healthier – in addition to lowering operational costs. We are grateful to the all sponsors who are making this project possible namely FusionStorm, Clearwater, Anise Consulting Ltd, New Life Baptist Church, New Testament Church of God, Ocean Conversion, Nutmeg Designs, the BVI Spring Regatta, National Parks Trust, and the Department of Agriculture.
Follow up activities included a visit from the Elmore Stoutt High School’s Environmentall Club who helped paint and clean. As did some of the youth from Sail Caribbean. It is through partnerships such as these that we can move forward to a greener, cleaner and healthier BVI.
Although significant progress was made on the day, Green VI is still raising the funds and other assistance necessary in order to continue work to green of the Ivan Dawson Primary School a reality. If you wish to contribute to this project kindly e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .