NORTH DELTA – The following story was written by Lucia Lin and Esther Inlayo, Grade 12 students at Seaquam Secondary and two of the lead planners of the “Igniting A Spark” event there.
Students from all over the Lower Mainland gathered here on Friday, Feb. 21 for “Igniting A Spark,” a youth environmental symposium aimed at sustainable action.
The conference at Seaquam Secondary began with drummer Dennis Thomas from Tsleil-Waututh First Nation and was followed by an inspiring message from Maureen Jack LaCroix, co-founder of the Be the Change Earth Alliance, who spoke about student leadership roles for sustainability.
During breakout sessions, students had a chance to share and be motivated by the environmental projects from other schools. Afterward, booths set up by organizations like Delta Streamkeepers, Emterra and Encorp revealed the extent of conservation issues present today.
With these issues in mind, 2012 TedXKid speaker Veronika Bylicki shared her experiences of spearheading large-scale environmental initiatives
and inspired students as they moved into an action-inquiry session where they planned sustainability campaigns for the year.
The power of the conference was in its alternative approach to sustainability. Instead of a dry, classroom environment, students were empowered by hands-on activities that challenged them to make concrete plans for the near future.
The energy in the air was almost palpable throughout the symposium. Students were engaged and enthusiastic as they were presented with thought-provoking questions and presentations. Among the participants were prominent members of the community, including school district superintendent Dianne Turner, Mayor Lois Jackson and Delta North MLA Scott Hamilton, who were extremely impressed by the students’ innovation and initiative.
This spirit of conservation will be sustained throughout the year as students post their progress online on DeltaLearns, a platform where they can connect, share and be inspired by the environmental ideas of their peers.