Community, companies are mobilizing to support VCI Green Industries class projects

The new Green Industries class at Vankleek Hill Collegiate (VCI) is receiving tremendous support from the community and local businesses, with donations pouring in for the course, just in time for outdoor planting on school property.

“It was amazing,” said teacher Tamany Booth, of the more than $6,500 the class has raised through donations and plant sales since The article published an article about the class in the April 26 edition.

The donations allowed students from Green Industries – which focuses on learning how to help the environment through sustainability projects – to continue with their planned activities, including planning and building a school-wide composting system, the installation of flower and vegetable gardens, the planting of an orchard and the construction of a greenhouse.

The support also encouraged the students, and the school, to look for ideas for future years and how community members can become more involved in the project.

“It definitely got me thinking about next year and the possibilities,” Booth commented. “One of the things it made me realize is how the community could be involved in the course.”

The lessons highlighted in VCI’s Green Industries class aren’t just about saving the planet. Students also learn real-world business tools and must consider factors such as cost and the sustainability of their projects. To help engage the community, ideas include bringing in guest speakers from local farms and businesses, and field trips to local sites. The class was scheduled to visit the Vankleek Hill Tulip Fields during the week of May 30 to June 3 to learn about the operation.

“I know the tulips are over, but the kids seem to really like the business side,” Booth said, adding that she expects a lot of questions from the students to the tulip farm owners.

The most important tasks for the students this spring were ongoing outdoor projects on the school grounds, which began when the weather warmed up in late May. This is the culmination of the continued growth of the first year of offering the Green Industries course at VCI.

VCI students Montgomery Campeau (left) and Palace Pete planting one of the trees on school property. Photo submitted

“It just got stronger as we went along and a lot of that was thanks to the support from the community,” Booth said. “We would have struggled to achieve everything we have if we didn’t have community support and fundraising.”

The students have already planted more than a dozen fruit trees on the property, installed the new greenhouse and revamped the garden in front of the school. New flowers are also being planted in the school yard and raised beds are ready to be installed.

“We had great ideas for the project and luckily we got to see it all come to fruition,” Booth enthused about the student projects and community support.

Future income will be maintained by creating income from the gardens, orchards and compost systems created by the students, who plan to sell worm castings, as well as vegetables, flowers and fruit. Donations are always welcome to help with the various projects. Anyone wishing to contribute can email Tamany Booth at [email protected], or contact one of the students in the class. Tax receipts are available at the school.

In addition to several anonymous private donors, local businesses that have donated to the VCI Green Industries course thus far include Roy’s Accounting Office, MacEwen Gas Station, Pawsitively Perfect Pets, Howe’s Farm Equipment, Deppaneur Lalonde, Levac Furniture, Hillcrest Funeral Home, Cliftondale Construction, Jade Garden and Garden Path Home Soap.

VCI teacher Tamany Booth and student Nathan Baron plant a creeping phlox plant. Photo submitted

From left to right: Mitchell Durocher, Jordan Anderson, Llivethan Suppiah and Vincent Lalonde in front of the greenhouse built by the students of the Green Industries class at Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute. Photo: Reid Masson

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