Trash2Treasure creations by Grade 6 IDES students. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Fernie students turn trash into treasures

Students tackle big topics such as recycling, reusable energy, climate change, ecological footprint.

From cardboard pool tables to gas canister guitars, Grade 6 students at Isabella Dicken Elementary stunned visitors with their recycled creations.

They prepared these Trash2Treasure creations as a part of the Beyond Recycling program, which is now in its 10th year.

Program coordinator Dawn Deydey says she has seen many great creations over the years. Since she launched Beyond Recycling a decade ago, it has spread to 20 schools in the East and West Kootenay.

“The projects always seem to impress, year after year,” she said.

“There was just so much excitement, and the students were so proud about the work that they did here; taking something that was going to be trash and thrown away, and turning it into a treasure or something useful.”

The Beyond Recycling program was originally dreamed up by the owners of Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company, a pizza company in Canmore. They created this program as a means to reduce their business’ emissions. When they obtained funding to spread this program to other towns, it landed in Fernie and into the hands of Deydey.

From that point on, Deydey and her team of volunteers embraced the idea and converted it into a 20-lesson education program.

Topics include recycling, waste, reusable energy, climate change, ecological footprint. Big topics, presented in a fun, hands on format.

In Isabella Dicken Elementary, 58 Grade six students participated in this program and were challenged in the Beyond Recycling unit, to create something useful out of something that would have otherwise been thrown out.

On April 19, the gymnasium was full of students presenting their creations.

Wren Hepher created a mini pool table made out of a recycled cardboard box, which she cut and folded inward. The bouncy balls used as pool balls were found at the thrift store and the ball pockets were made of recycled onion bags.

A recycled shelf was used as a base, and the cue was made out of dowel, taped together for length. It took her about two days of work. “It was really fun, because I spent most of the time making it with my dad,” she said.

To Wren, the importance of projects like this is that it helps reduce waste, save energy and protect the environment by conserving all of the water and air pollution made by landfills.

Brodie Earl created a recycled skateboard using two five-gallon plastic carpentry buckets, four layers of wood, sand paper grip tape and his old skateboard trucks.

Brodie Earl. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Jesse Larsen turned an century-old gasoline container into a guitar, attaching an old guitar stem to the gas can with a drill.

Jesse Larsen. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Ivy Wright built a sturdy bench out of old, unused skies.

Ivy Wright. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Stone Sibbeston built a fully-functioning kayak out of recycled thermal aluminum foil, left over from recent home renovations. He also used industrial grade plastic wrap, a broken rubber maid bin lid, a wooden pole, and lots of tape.

Stone Sibbeston. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Two other students created lamps out of recycled materials. One created his lamp from an old cd holder, cut and welded into shape. The base was made from an old bottle that would have otherwise been thrown out.

The other created his lamp with an old skateboard and light bulbs replacing all four wheels.

Aura Donnelly made a grand portrait of a woman made from 100 per cent recycled materials. She used balloons, string, old Ziploc bags, bottle caps, garbage bags, duct tape, sparkles and some of her mother’s old magazines. She said that art was her passion, and that was what helped her come up with this idea. This project took five days to make.

Aura stressed that all of her painting materials would have ended up in a landfill, had she not reused them.

“I feel like if everyone starts recycling a bit more, our world would become a bit better,” she said.


Aura Donnelly and her portrait. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

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