Grade 8 students Jenna Froese (left with a Monterey-made sifter), Sela Piercy and Abby McCluskey promote the classes’ group activity and invite the public, to celebrate Earth Day April 21 from 10 a.m. to noon at Willows Beach. Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News

Oak Bay students tackle nurdles at Willows Beach

Youth invite entire region to April 21 event at Willows Beach

Groups of Grade 8 students, inspired by the community, host an environmental party Friday.

Recently Reynolds Secondary students came to talk about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, highlighting the need to keep trash from the water.

“The garbage patch, it’s not going to get any smaller if we don’t act on it,” said Jenna Froese.

Around the same time a teacher shared with her class after hearing about a project at UVic studying nurdles, the micro plastics that hide in hundreds on local beaches.

“That raised awareness for us,” said Jenna, explaining that each year the Grade 8 classes host some form of educational gathering in the school. “This year, we wanted to host an event outside our school. We wanted to act on it. We’re doing an ocean plastic beach cleanup.”

They plan to host the public at Willows Beach Friday from 10 a.m. to noon.

Monterey Middle School students even built sifters for visitors to use, said Sela Piercy.

“We’ll be sifting for nurdles,” Sela said. “In a few years, if we don’t act soon, nurdles will kill ocean animals.”

Students plan to lead the public in sifting through the sand and a plastics sorting game that should prove educational.

“We’re leading a bunch of activities down there,” said Abby McClusky. “We can change in our now houses, raising awareness is that next step.”

Grade 6 and 7 students celebrate Earth Day too

Three classes who have developed – as part of their science activities this term – environmental education activities to share April 21. They’ll take place at three different stations, through which the other six classes rotate, via outdoor walks between the stations.

Station 1 – An introduction to environmental issues with student-created public service announcements at Monterey school.

Station 2 – Learning about the marine environment and ocean pollution at McNeil (Shoal) Bay.

Station 3 – A sensory nature activity at Anderson Hill Park.

cvanreeuwyk @oakbaynews.com