By James Rose

On Tuesday, April 25th, JA Laird will be hosting a fundraising event for the revitalization of the school garden and is part the schools Earth Day activities. The name of the event is Amazing Day, and it is an all-day event that involves a series of 14 team challenges. It will take place at Kinsmen Beach

Students will be on inter-grade teams ranging from Grades 4 to 7 and the focus for the day is on co-operation, team building and inclusion.

Students are collecting pledges for completing all 14 challenges, said Nadine Hale, one of the events organizers and a member of JA Lairds Parent Advisory Council (PAC). The top 10 fundraisers will be awarded the opportunity to throw a pie at one of their teachers and there will also be a draw of all fundraising forms submitted for an additional five chances to throw a pie. To participate in the pie throwing draw, a students form and money fundraised must be submitted no later than Thursday, April 20th.

In total, the Amazing Day will feature 28 teams, each with eight members made up of two kids from each grade. There will be 14 events, each taking roughly fifteen minutes to complete. Some of the events include fire building and safety, boating rescue, nature challenge, map and compass, artistic photography, ropes course and zipline, medical emergency, Metis dance, and several more.

Since my children entered the school system here in Invermere in 2010, school staff and parents have been discussing ideas to facilitate additional opportunities for outdoor education, said Ms. Hale. School field trips are great, but they happen at best once a month. Together we have been envisioning a school life culture beyond the walls of the classroom.

In 2015 after ideas were presented to Lairds PAC by the school teaching staff, the decision was made to set aside $1,000 to be used to revitalize the school garden. The students of Laird, with the help of Dylan Dainard, were successful in obtaining a BC Hydro grant for this purpose as well, added Ms. Hale.

[Today] our vision for the garden includes a school composting system, native plants and places where children can gather in a more natural environment, said Ms. Hale. The PAC is currently working together with Rocky Mountain School District Six operations to meet certain requirements necessary for the school garden to be operational. Doug and Mandi McRobbie with Hybrid Landscapes have been sharing their expertise in designing a garden that meets these requirements and objectives, commented Ms. Hale.

But the idea for the Amazing Day came later. The idea was initially sparked at a parent advisory meeting in May 2016 when we heard of a PAC in Cranbrook hosting a community running event, said Ms. Hale. And it was while riding the school bus to Edmonton on the Silver Strings ukulele band tour that parents and children together thought about how much fun it would be to have a school adventure race.

Shortly thereafter, the first planning meeting for this day happened in June. [Since then] a group of parents has met several times over the last nine months. And with support of many, many community partners whom we will be thanking immensely, the Amazing Day was born.

Students will be asking their family and friends to pledge them to complete the 14 challenges to raise money for our school garden and so we ask to please support them and give generously to this valuable project, said Ms. Hale.