Caring for our Watersheds

Caring for our Watersheds

May 16, 2014 18:16 ET

Local Students Find Innovative Environmental Solutions

CAMROSE, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - May 16, 2014) - The EcoVision club from Lacombe Composite High School is not an understatement. This impressive club has taken massive steps to reduce their schools ecological footprint, with an understanding and commitment to sustainability which would impress anyone who takes the time to listen.

Tizita Hill, Sofia Capettini, Ava Funkhouser, and Michaela Reitsma of EcoVision are proud to win the 2014 Caring for our Watersheds (CFW) contest, brought to Central Alberta by Agrium Inc. and the Battle River Watershed Alliance. This group, supported by their teacher Steve Schultz, formed a sub-committee of EcoVision called LEAFS, short for Lacombe Educational Aquaponics Food System.

EcoVision came up with a creative answer to a very simple but profound question: 'What can you do to improve your watershed?'

"The goal of the project is to symbiotically grow fish and herbs for our school cafeteria in the most sustainable and watershed friendly way. We believe that our plan to build an Aquaponics system will encourage the community to grow their own food in a way that reduces the amount of water, nutrients, and chemicals needed and therefore reducing the impact on our watershed." announced the LEAFS team at the Caring for our Watersheds Final Competition.

As a result of their efforts, the LEAFS team won $1,000 for themselves and $1,000 for Lacombe Composite by placing first in the contest. To win, they researched their local watershed, identified an environmental concern, came up with a realistic solution and presented to community judges representing a variety of backgrounds and industries.

Over $15,000 was awarded in prizes, and an additional $10,000 is available to help implement the participant's ideas.

"The purpose of the contest is simple," says Lindsey Metheral, Agrium Program Advisor. "Our goal is to encourage students to learn about their local watershed and be inspired to make improvements to the land, air and water. With community and school support, we have seen the creativity and determination students have for protecting and preserving the environment. It's inspiring when they turn their ideas into reality."

"Over the years the community has shown great leadership in mentoring the students and helping them implement their ideas. Any of the 299 students who entered in 2014 contest can work towards making their idea happen. We are here to help them," said Nathalie Stanley, Education and Outreach Coordinator and the Battle River Watershed Alliance. "I can't wait to try some of LEAFS tilapia."

To schedule a media interview, please contact Nathalie Stanley directly at 780-672-0276.

Final Results

Place Student Names Idea School Division School, Location Prize Amount
1 Sofia Capettini, Ava Funkhouser, Tizita Hill, Michaela Reitsma Aquaponics Food System Wolf Creek Public Schools Ecole Secondaire Composite, Lacombe $1000
2 Isaac Boddy Hummingbird Garden Wisdom Homeschooling Forestburg $900
3 Tyler Elder Landscaping with Xeriscaping Battle River Bashaw School, Bashaw $800
4 Simran Panesar Toonies for Trees Campaign Edmonton Public Schools A. Blair McPherson, Edmonton $700
5 Jenelle Chen, Christina Luu Compost Fertilizer Edmonton Public Schools Londonderry Junior High, Edmonton $600
6 Mark Cardinal, Andrea Noskiye Sustainable Development Northland No. 61 Kateri School, Trout Lake $500
7 Jared Chevrie, Mckaila Tunstall, Desiree St. Amant Cattail Buffering Study Lakeland Catholic Notre Dame High School, Bonnyville $450
8 Brogan Middleton Watershed Education Program Battle River Bashaw School, Bashaw $400
9 Ashley Bilhete, Judzeah Sagstuen Electronic Recycling Edmonton Public Schools John D. Bracco, Edmonton $350
10 Madyson Thomsen Water Recycling Battle River Charlie Killam, Camrose $300
10 Maham Fatima Acid Rain Awareness Fort McMurray Public Schools Ecole McTavish, Fort McMurray $300

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About Agrium:

Agrium Inc. is a major retail supplier of agricultural products and services in Australia and North and South America and a leading global producer and marketer of agricultural nutrients and industrial products. Agrium produces and markets three primary groups of nutrients: nitrogen, phosphate and potash as well as controlled release fertilizers and micronutrients. Agrium's strategy is to grow through incremental expansion of its existing operations and acquisitions as well as the development, commercialization and marketing of new products and international opportunities. Contact us at:

About the Battle River Watershed Alliance:

The Battle River Watershed Alliance (BRWA) is an inclusive, collaborative and consensus-based community partnership that is working to guide, support and deliver actions to sustain or improve the health of the Battle River watershed. We will seek to achieve this through knowledgeable community participation and an adaptive approach.

The Battle River Watershed Alliance is a group representing four orders of government (First Nations, municipal, provincial and federal), watershed groups, environmental organizations, industry, academia and private citizens in a collaborative initiative to plan for the sustainable management of land and water resources in the Battle River Watershed.

We're all part of a watershed, and what we do impacts downstream and future users. Learn more at:

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