Oxbow students win an award

Students at Oxbow Prairie Horizons School (OPHS) have shown their commitment to the environment, and have been rewarded with top spot for Saskatchewan in a nation-wide competition.

Oxbow students collected 15,229 plastic bags in April through the Plastic Bag Grab Challenge, which was run in 10 provinces and one territory. Thanks to their result, they will receive $3,000 for environmental initiatives in the school and the community.

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They were informed of the win in mid-June.

The second and third place schools for Saskatchewan were both from Regina.

Stacey Beriault, who teaches Grades 1 and 2 at the school, co-chaired Oxbow’s entry for the challenge, along with Gillian Whitehead, who teaches the Grade 5 class.

Beriault was stunned with how many bags they were able to collect, and how all the classrooms got behind the initiative.

OPHS collected all the bags through a classroom challenge. The OPHS school community council offered a pizza lunch to the classroom that collected the most bags, and the Grade 1/2 class brought in more than 2,000 plastic bags to take top spot.

“We sent out an email and a letter home, and we said to bring all the plastic bags on in,” said Beriault.

Beriault found out about the competition through an email that was sent out to schools in southeast Saskatchewan. The contest ran from April 18 to 22 as part of Earth Week.

“We just collected the bags, and we took them to Walmart, and they took them from there,” said Beriault. “They made them into bales. They have been processed and used to make new products.”

Walmart Canada and the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council ran the challenge in Saskatchewan.

She noted they only had four days to collect all the bags, since the students weren’t in class on April 22.

Originally, OPHS thought they had finished second, which would have meant a $2,000 prize, but an error had occurred, and they were later informed they were tops in the province.

They have not decided where they will direct the money, but Beriault expects it could be used at their playground, or elsewhere in the school.

“We have an environmental studies class, so we’ll probably talk to them and see if they might have a plan,” said Beriault. “If not, we’ll plant trees, or maybe build some kind of a green play structure.”

More than 2.27 million plastic bags were collected from across the country through the Plastic Bag Grab Challenge.

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