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Retired Arthur teacher Barbara Kidd wins GRCA award

by Janet Baine

CAMBRIDGE - “Don’t blow it - good planets are hard to find” is written on every email Barbara Kidd sends.

The retired teacher was recognized by the Grand River Conservation Authority Sept 15 with a 2011 Watershed award for greening Arthur Public School over the past few years.

She had students clamouring to join the green teams and blue teams, parents spreading mulch on new gardens and local companies going out of their way to support the environmental efforts of the school. Kidd has become an expert in writing grant proposals to get funds for environmental programs.

And the principal at her school is one of her biggest supporters.

“Barb works tirelessly to search for grants to support our efforts to be environmentally conscious,” said Brent Ellery. “Just when I think we have done enough, Barb pushes us to the next level.”

The school ground sports an established forest with mature trees that has been cleaned up so children can play there during recess. In addition, there is a new butterfly garden at the front of the school and an outdoor classroom near the forest. A community conservation grant from the Grand River Conservation Foundation helped to pay for the large rocks where the children sit in the outdoor classroom.

In 2011, a literary garden was planted with red maple, blue spruce and silver birch - those are also the names of a series of books used to teach an appreciation of literature through the Forest of Reading program that is used at the school.

The pavement play area for Kindergarten students was replaced with a new garden and a maple tree for shade.

Each student in the school received a tree seedling thanks to Copernicus Educational Products, an educational products company. Students also planted seedlings in a small tree nursery on the school grounds. They have also planted trees in the community.

In one year, Arthur Public School diverts 700 kilos of waste from landfill sites through the recycling and composting programs.

“We have a great community partnership with All Treat Farms, a composting company based in Arthur that also produces mulch. Together we’re doing our best to educate people, young and old, about the importance of composting,” Kidd said. The school has a gold medal in the ECO Green School program. It has also been designated as a gold medal school by Green Legacy, the Wellington County tree planting program. It is a level two Earth School through the SEEDS Foundation based in Alberta, because it has completed 2,000 environmental projects.

In the process of those achievements, Kidd has been nicknamed the Green Queen, and her workspace was called the Green Headquarters. A children’s book in the works has a main character modeled after her. Kidd has carefully recorded all of the school’s efforts in a binder that she passed on to another Green Queen in September. In fact, she is hoping a few teachers will share the tasks that she has carried out, because of the time and commitment it takes.

Her plan after retirement in June was to continue with environmental initiatives as a volunteer and perhaps as a consultant to other schools.

Kidd is one of five recipients of a 2011 Grand River Watershed awards and one of the three from Wellington County.

 

Janet Baine is a GRCA communications specialist.

 

September 30, 2011

 
 

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