April is Earth Month, a time when many organizations and schools put on events or take on projects related to the environment. On April 9, nine junior school students at Vancouver's West Point Grey Academy, along with science teacher Molly Young, organized the school's annual Earth Month assembly.
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About 550 students filled the gym, eager to learn of their school's Earth Month goal and challenge to produce less garbage. Lucky enough to be invited along for the morning were three Suzuki Elders, who had a story to tell and encouragement to share.
What a great assembly! The speeches and slide presentations by the students were brilliant, with a clear "reduce, re-use, recycle and RE-THINK" message laid out for their fellow students. The student organizers were poised in their greeting, introduction and gratitude to the Suzuki Elders. And we Elders (Neale Adams, Diana Ellis, Patricia Grinsteed) made good use of our 15 minutes. Neale described the work of the David Suzuki Foundation, Diana told the story of "The Little Hummingbird" (by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas of the Haida Nation), Neale took the microphone into the crowd to get feedback on the story, and Patricia closed with words of encouragement and thanks to the students and staff.
"The Little Hummingbird", in case you don't know, is a good story for all ages, making the point that all of us, no matter how small or young, can do something to make a difference. Based on a story from South American indigenous peoples, the tale describes how a little hummingbird doesn't give up as she carries drop after drop of water onto her forest home, which is enduring a raging forest fire. The response she gives to the other questioning and astonished forest animals is, "I'm doing what I can." It's an inspiring theme for all, including the junior students of West Point Grey Academy, who are doing what THEY can to reduce garbage and waste at their school. Way to go, kids!