Young Environmentalists

This module can be completed during any season. The students will learn about caring for the environment, waste watch management and effects of littering and pollution on organisms. There will be an emphasis in caring for parks and natural areas; discussing damage many people do with out realizing it. They will pick up garbage; play various games that emphasis the importance of caring for the environment.

Lesson 1- Pollution

Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the environment. Air pollution is a major problem in big cities, like Toronto or New York. In these cities, smog, a combination of smoke and fog, fills the air causing respiratory problems for many. The effects of pollution are not as great in P.E.I., but pollution still occurs. Acid rain is a result of pollution, and is not uncommon in P.E.I. Rain drops will react with carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxides or nitrogen oxides for automobile emissions to become acidic. Acid rain can cause problems for various organisms. It can change the acidity of water and soils killing the living things that inhabit these areas. As well, some plants cannot tolerate high acidity, leading to damage or death. Buildings and historical monuments can be damaged by acid rain. It is important to understand the damage pollution can do to the environment. Global warming and depletion of the ozone layer is a result of decades of pollution. 

Lesson 2 - Litter

Everyone knows that littering has negative impacts on the environment, it causes problems for wildlife, can be hazardous to humans and just looks bad. Despite all that, people still roll down their car window and toss their empty MacDonald's bags into the ditch. The most littered item in the world is cigarette butts, which are highly dangerous to wildlife and contain toxic substances. Cigarette butts can take up to 15 years to degrade, if they do at all. It is important to instill in children/youth that littering is unacceptable. This lesson will discuss the impacts of litter and make road-side clean-up fun.    

Lesson 3 - Waste Watch

In 2002, Island Waste Watch was implemented Island-wide. This sees that residents, businesses and visitors sort their garbage at the source into recycle, compost and waste bins. Island Waste Watch has been very successful in reducing the amount of waste that reaches landfills. For many Islanders sorting their garbage has become second nature, while others are still working at it. This lesson will teach young Islanders the importance of Waste Watch Management and test their knowledge on sorting their waste.

Click here to visit the Island Waste Management Corporation website.

Lesson 4 - Respect for Nature

Nature is all around us. We are part of nature, although sometimes we forget. Being the most intelligent, or thinking that we are, species, we tend to put ourselves ahead of all the other organisms.  We don't think of the consequences of our actions, or don't realize the impact our actions. Sure ripping a branch off a tree in some neighbourhood park doesn't have a great impact on you but think what you have just done to the tree. With open wounds the tree is susceptible to disease, rot and   insects. If the tree becomes infected, chances of surviving is slim to none. Therefore, you just killed a living organism. Even placing a little pin hole in the side of tree can be fatal.  Damage to trees will happen during high winds and snowstorm, they don't need us adding to the stress.

Peeling the bark of off a tree can also make it susceptible to disease. Bark is like the skin of the tree, once it is remove the wound can become infected just like with humans. For some trees the bark will grown back and therefore heel the wound, for others such as White Birch, the bark will not re-grow.  

Many of the parks in Charlottetown and around the Island have groomed paths for people to use when visiting these areas. It is important we stay on these pathways. When a person goes of a groomed trail they might trample low vegetation and saplings without even knowing it. Also underneath the layers of foliage are many little critters, including salamanders. These areas are home to various organisms and it is best we avoid disturbing them when possible.

 Lesson 5 - Water Conservation

Water Conservation will be a summer module in itself..this is just a brief introduction. 

Water conservation is the reduction of water usage and recycling it when possible. There are three goals of water conservation:

  • Sustainability - withdrawal of freshwater from ecosystems should not exceed natural replacement
  • Energy Conservation - water pumping, delivery and waste water use a lot of energy; 15% of the energy used worldwide is for water purposes
  • Habitat Conservation - reduction in water use will help preserve freshwater habitats

In 2010, the City of Charlottetown hired a Water Conservationist to monitor the city's water use and help residents reduce the amount of water the use.

  • 6,703,744mof water was used in Charlottetown in 2010 (1m3 = 1000L) ...that's a lot of water 
  • all of the city's water is pumped up to 22km from the Winter River Watershed
    • click here to learn more about this watershed

By reducing the amount of water used there will be a decrease in electricity used, greenhouse gases emitted and stress on the water sources, which leads to saving money and the environment!

Visit these two pages for more on water conservation in Charlottetown.

City of Charlottetown: Water Conservation Tips

City of Charlottetown: Be Water Friendly

 

Click here for games.

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