Student project captures art of recycling

Vote for WES student project in Parks Canada contest daily!

Students at Windermere Elementary School (WES) are looking to the community for help to win a trip of a lifetime.

Paulina Stankovski and Tara Whittick’s grade 7 class has entered to win an all-expense paid five day, four night trip to Ottawa this June. The contest is designed to showcase natural or cultural stewardship projects. The WES students learned about our natural assets such as waterways and wildlife, with a special focus on plastics and recycling.

“We learned about the environment – energy sources, climate change, history of waste, did a debate on energy, also found out how climate change affects us,” listed Mackenzie Clarke.

They did journaling, took part in nature games, connected with the landscape both at Lake Windermere and in Kootenay National Park, and learned about the importance of waterways to the local First Nations people, Mia Walters reported.

To showcase what they were learning, the students created two stunning works of art entirely out of plastic lids. The class collected lids for months, then got the whole school involved in the process. The goal, explained student Alexis Hall, is to raise awareness about the plastics polluting our earth.

Clare Hatalcik said the art (an artistic representation of Lake Windermere, and a bear) was inspired by Lake Windermere, and from their trip to Kootenay National Park, where they learned from a Ktunaxa teacher that bears are a symbol of strength and protection in the Ktunaxa culture.

Once they started gathering the plastic lids, “it made you think a lot more about plastic in this world,” commented Nena Flight.

The students all agree they learned a lot through this comprehensive project, and are far more aware of recycling and taking care of our environment now.

“It changed me by knowing how much plastic there is out there in the world, and that we can do something about it,” said Alexis Hall.

Clare Hatlcik agreed: “It makes us more aware of the amount of plastic in this world. We saw an ocean full of plastic and it just keeps building up.”

Nena Flight said she wants to be an artist when she grows up, and this changed her perspective how she could do art not just for herself, but to show others a better way to live.

The two pieces of art will be shown across the Valley, starting with Art from the Heart (running April 3rd-28th at Pynelogs Art Gallery & Cultural Centre) as well as at an Earth Day Event and later on at From Scratch – A Mountain Kitchen. If other businesses or organizations are interested in displaying this unique original artwork, contact Tara Whittick at

Voting for the contest opened Monday, March 5th, and closes March 21st. Visit Vote daily for Windermere’s submission, titled ‘Little Hands. Big Difference’.

This story has been edited since publication to acknowledge co-teacher Paulina Stankovski. The Pioneer apologizes for this error.


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