Lacombe Composite High School’s Ecovision Club was hard at work this summer, carrying on the legacy of over a decade of groundbreaking environment and agricultural programs.
The Club, along with members of the community came together to form the Friends of the Greenhouse community group which promotes gardening in the community, providing workshops on a variety of different ecological areas,
Lacombe Composite High School, Ecovision and our Friends of the Greenhouse have started an active community group where we are trying to create a gardening community. Steve Schultz, LCHS teacher and Ecovision Club leader, said group’s mission is to give community members an opportunity to garden and also a place where they feel they belong.
This year, 10 different families took part in the summer program.
“They agree to give a half hour of their time to contribute to a portion of the garden in exchange for a garden plot or the opportunity to participate in our other activities,” he said.
The workshops, which many of the families participated in as well, including sessions on beekeeping, growing mushrooms harvesting garlic and also canning.
Student involvement has been critical to the success of these programs, along with other ongoing Ecovision projects.
“We have expanded our student micro-business program and students are now participating in Lacombe’s two farmers’ markets,” Schultz said.
Starting int he new school year, Ecovision will celebrate their work, the work of volunteers and the work of sponsors int he community with, a now becoming, annual harvest tradition.
“Keep your eyes and ears open for that when we honour our students and volunteers with an ethnic feast,” Schultz said.
Schultz is also keen on Ecovision’s latest endeavor, the Roof For Kids Program, which will be a structure on school property that includes a living roof and also a goat farm. Currently, the project is slightly delayed due to ongoing commitments from community partners but Schultz said he expects to have an architect’s design in September.
“If everything lines up and all of our approvals line up, in October we can begin construction. We are hoping to have the goats on the property in March or April,” he said.
Darcy Cunningham, a Grade 12 student and one of the pioneers of the Roof For Kids program is excited to see it take off this year.
“It is so exciting because it is a project that is pretty unheard of. I get to be part of the group that is pioneering it and will be actually able to see part of the fruits of my labour. I can bring my own kids here and say I helped build that,” he said.
Schultz is thankful for the buy-in on these projects and all of Ecovision’s ongoing work.
“I think our secret has been creating win-win opportunities. The second thing is finding things are passionate about. People really want to make our community a better place and students and adults alike prefer to do that in things they are passionate about,” he said.
He added they are continuing to encourage the community to get involved and also asked for community members to enjoy the gardens, without harvesting the products — which are for student learning.
Schultz is also hoping that the new year will bring a new dual-credit program with Olds College, which will give students Greenhouse Technician Certificate along with high school and college credits.
“We are really pumped about that,” he said.
If you would like to get involved with the Ecovision Club, you can contact Schultz at firstname.lastname@example.org or by contact the school, 403 782 6615.
“You are going to be investing in young people’s lives and you will have the satisfaction of making their futures more prosperous,” he said.
Cunningham added, “I really care about these programs and want to keep them going on so other people can have the same experiences and it also helps educate students and community members on where their food comes from. It helps them grow food themselves.”