Leave it to the David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) Leadership class to take over their school on Earth Day in order to share ideas on how to help make the world a better place.

The class, comprised of about 20 Grade 10 to 12 students, were assigned the project of holding an Earth Day event today (on Wednesday, April 22nd) to educate their fellow students, teachers, and school staff about solutions that address climate change in a fun, positive way.

The class decided a multi-faceted approach was best and in true leadership style, enlisted the help of other classes, the student council and school staff to create an Earth Day worth remembering.

Leadership students Amira Elwakeel, Taylor Hart and Anna Arif took some time on Monday (April 20th) to explain to The Valley Echo what they had in store.

What will first strike students and staff who walk through the school doors will be the different signs posted around the school, each one with a different fact about everything from water consumption (like taking shorter showers) to energy efficiency (walking to school instead of driving).

“People don’t realize how much water use goes into everything,” said Amira.

With grant money from the DTSS Parent Advisory Council, the class purchased some glass and plastic water bottles from local businesses Circle Health and Bicycle Works, which they will be handing out for free.

“We want to promote students using reusable containers,” said Anna. The Leadership class will also be serving free green ice tea to anyone with a reusable container.

Anyone who plans to eat lunch at the cafeteria (known as the Rocky Mountain Cafe) is in for a surprise eco-friendly meal. The cafe, which is run by students in the Cook Training program and already features healthy, multi-cultural cuisine on a regular basis, is providing a special Earth Day lunch featuring raw and locally grown food.

The menu consists of zucchini noodles with a creamy pesto sauce (served cold, not cooked) and local greens, a salad of local greenhouse greens, a vegetable lettuce wrap (sandwich option), tomato cucumber Gazpacho (soup option) plus strawberry apple chia pudding for dessert.

The lunch special will be served on glass plates instead of the paper plates that the cafeteria normally uses, and students are invited to enjoy the lunch in the school’s courtyard, which will be opened up for student use for the first time, and will remain open for the rest of the year (previously it was just by just staff and teachers).

“People can eat lunch outside,” said Taylor. “It has a nice atmosphere.”

The DTSS student council helped the Leadership class clean up the courtyard for the Earth Day opening, and the council will be taking care of it for the rest of the year, with plans to bring in more benches by working with the Woodshop class to build some furniture.

Another Earth Day initiative has been in the works since before spring break, when the Leadership class — using the community greenhouse adjacent to the high school — planted a variety of plants in yoghurt containers (sweet peas, mint, parsley, etc.), one for each teacher and school staff member, which came to about 30 in all.

Last but not least, Leadership students have been spreading the word for everyone to wear green for Earth Day. Anyone who shows up wearing green will be invited to take part in a group photograph that will be taken in the newly opened courtyard at lunch.

“Overall, we want to raise awareness,” said Taylor.

To learn more about global Earth Day awareness and initiatives, visit www.earthday.ca.