Grade 11 student Izzy Bourque, Grade 10 student Gage Coffey, Ecovision Instructor Steve Schultz and Foods Instructor Leia MacDonald showed off the club’s latest bee related product: Beeswax wraps to replace saran wrap at home. (Todd Colin Vaughan/LACOMBE EXPRESS)

Lacombe Composite Ecovision students closer to opening goat sanctuary

Ecovision students also selling beeswax wraps at Lacombe markets

Lacombe Composite High School’s Ecovision Club is progressing on their Roof 4 Kids program, with the first phase being the creation of a goat sanctuary with a living roof.

Roofs 4 Kids

Steve Schultz, who has been the instructor for Ecovision since the club took LCHS off the grid with solar system on the roof of the school, said they have received conditional approval for the project from Wolf Creek Public Schools based on five conditions:

  1. Obtaining a permit from the City of Lacombe
  2. Raising the necessary funds to cover the project ($100,000, half of which has already been raised)
  3. Working with WCPS maintenance to ensure the sanctuary has proper heating, water and electricity and it is funded
  4. Creation of sustainability plan
  5. Create a list of individuals who will volunteer time to ensure this project is taken care of in the future

Schultz said he believes these conditions can be met within the next two months and expects construction of the goat sanctuary, which will be helped by LCHS construction students, to begin in the spring time.

Ecovision is currently looking for funding and volunteer support from the community and students,” like Grade 11 student Izzy Bourque, have created a presentation which they will begin showing to the community to help explain the project.

“We recognize there are a lot of concerns we couldn’t answer from the community people we have met. We decided the best thing to do would be put on a presentation that has a collective of all the questions needing to be answered. We can present that to the community,” she said.

Schultz added they have already secured community support from a local goat dairy supplier to help ensure the goats are being properly raised and cared for on campus.

“Right now we have Rock Ridge Dairy, which is one of the largest dairy producers for goats. They are working hand-in-hand with us to make sure we have all the right things built into our animal sanctuary. We want to to make sure we have the right knowledge in terms of taking care of the goats,” Schultz said.

Schultz said he hopes students will be able to follow the development of the goats from start to finish and he is also excited for the sanctuary to include a living roof, where students will grow food and native plants.

“That is a completely sustainable and renewable project project. We want to be completely off the grid including a solar system ont the roof of the barn. We will also have the living roof,” he said.

The living roof will be a first for Canadian high schools and Schultz said it will help students understand the importance of arable land in the world during a time of bursting population growth.

“Understanding how to maximize arable land on all the roofs around the world will give my students some skills and some innovation they can only put on their resume, but in the future they could grow their own gardens on a rooftop,” he said adding they will also learn about preserving rainwater.

Beeswax Wraps

The Ecovision Club, during their time raising funds at Lacombe Markets for Roofs 4 Kids, is also using the byproduct of their honey business for another product.

“The beeswax wraps were a thought that came from one of teachers. We decided to run with it. Essentially, fabric is covered in beeswax and few other things. It is bio-friendly because it can replace saran wrap in the kitchen. It will seal food and last quite awhile,” Bourque said.

Gage Coffey, Grade 10 student, said selling the product at the markets has allowed him to understand the projects more thoroughly

“It has taught me to learn about this stuff more deeply. You get into the markets and learn about it more. Anytime I am at the markets and explaining these projects, I learn more about them,” he said.

The beeswax wraps are currently on sale at the markets at a holiday price of $10 for a casserole size wrap and $20 for a three pack of smaller wraps. Prices will go up after Christmas to $15 and $30 respectively.

“They are reusable hundreds of times and when they are done, you can compost them because they are all natural. To clean them, you need to rinse them in cold water with a bit of soap,” Bourque said.

Ecovision programming

Both Coffey and Bourque are part of the new LCHS Green Certificate Program, which allows them to earn credits through Ecovision’s projects.

“I am passionate about food and with Ecovision with produce food and the various ways we can grow it sustainably. That has helped me learn more, which is great. I have gained a lot of experience talking to people through Ecovision, especially at the markets which are a very interactive activity,” Bourque said about the program.

She added the business side of Ecovision has allowed her to have a firmer grasp on economics than she would from a traditional classroom.

“When I came into Ecovision and started going to markets it was a great experience to learn about that stuff. It will stick with me for awhile,” she said.

Schultz said has seen leadership skills grow in his students and his thankful to the community members and volunteers who have helped make their ever-expanding programs possible.

“We are looking at new course next year called Animal Husbandry Goat and Sheep Technician. It will be a Green Certificate program offering students 16 credits and they will certified across the province to look after their own goats and sheep,” he said.

Coffey said he excited for the goats to arrive at LCHS and construction to begin.

“That will give an educational program for our construction people, who will help us build the goat barn. I can’t wait for the goats to get here,” he said.

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