VANCOUVER—The Green Games, a competition launched last week in British Columbia, is challenging students across the province to become more environmentally responsible.
The competition involves Kindergarten to Grade 12 students documenting and sharing their “green actions” and developing community-based projects that help protect the environment.
The Green Games is a partnership between the Ministry of Education and Science World British Columbia. A team consisting of two or more students, a class, or a school, can design a creative solution that helps to solve an environmental concern in their school or community.
“The whole approach of the Green Games is that the students can share their information with others,” said Bryan Tisdall, president and CEO of Science World.
“It was designed for two purposes: one is to encourage school classes to get involved in projects in their own communities; second is to make available to students all across British Columbia ideas that others may have tried.”
A total of $50,000 in prize money will be granted to the schools of the winners in April 2009. Prizes of twenty-four $2,000 winning entries and two $1,000 “Viewer’s Choice” awards will be presented at an awards ceremony at Science World.
The Green Games welcomes various projects that cover all the environmental challenges existing in BC. Topics that meet the submission guidelines can be selected for the project, with examples such as climate change, greenhouse gas reduction, energy efficiency, stewardship and conservation, and sustainable development.
Tisdall said the documented action does not necessarily need to be something new. It can be something as simple as roadside clean-up as long as it has not been previously done in that community. The important thing is for students to make a contribution to the community.
“We wanted to set up a project that can be a motivator for students, and the project falls under the school curriculum where it can help the teachers in class to teach,” said Tisdall.
The hosts of the Green Games believe that kids will take the initiative and play a large role in benefiting the environment. In turn, students’ parents, neighbours and relatives are more likely to be environmentally sensitive and to take actions that are motivated by the nature of the projects.
Judges will assess all entries based on three criteria: environmental responsibility, creativity and innovation and communication.
By submitting the project in digital format online, the students will be able to develop a wide range of skills in addition to the environmental content.
“Young people today are using the social network and electronic media much more extensively than before,” said Tisdall. “The project has been designed to encourage that kind of involvement and interaction amongst them.
“We hope this won’t be just a one-time event. We want to have the project continuing in the future based on this year’s success. Concerns such as climate change will be on-going, so our project should be too.”
The government is funding up to $160,000 in the Green Games to encourage elementary and secondary school students to participate in the program.
“It is programs like this that will help government reach its goal of leading the world in sustainable environmental management and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent by 2020,” said Education Minister Shirley Bond in a news release.
Registration is open online from now until the end of September. Each team will need a sponsor teacher and written consent from their school. A write-up or video documenting students’ environmental actions can be submitted online by a sponsor teacher to the Green Games after January 15th, 2009.
For more information, please see http://bcgreengames.ca/