Juniper School receives $20K prize for environmental efforts

Being green paid off for Juniper School in the form of a $20,000 prize from Staples Canada’s Superpower Your School contest.

Juniper was announced April 29 as one of 20 schools in Canada that will receive the cash prize to purchase technology in recognition of their environmental efforts.

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Getting the prize was a long road for Juniper, which has entered the contest for the last four years, finishing in the top 100 for the first time in 2019.

“We had to share what our environmental initiatives are,” said Juniper principal Lucy Mayor.

Those initiatives include efforts to reduce waste, a composting and gardening program and partnerships with the Thompson Recycling Centre and ReGen Plastics in Winnipeg to ensure their plastic waste doesn’t end up in the landfill. “We have recycling for pretty much all the materials we use at the school. ReGen helps recycle plastic that can’t be recycled at the recycling centre here. To date we’ve diverted over 16,000 kilograms of waste. We’re very cautious about what we purchase. We’ve had a huge reduction in paper use.”

Juniper also received a grant from Manitoba Hydro this year to purchase kilowatt meters to help monitor and reduce the school’s energy consumption.

The COVID-19 pandemic made receiving the award less exciting than it might have been - “I wish the kids were here to receive it in person,” said Mayor - and also forced the postponement of a planned environmental fair. 

“That will not be forgotten and that will be held next April,” the principal says.

A Green Team made up of students and teacher leaders who inspire the rest of the school to do their part for the environment has more than doubled in size from a few years ago to 26 this school year. Mayor says the money will be used to purchase laptops, cameras and other equipment to help the school document its efforts and inform the world about them by expanding a website about those efforts.

“I’m just very grateful to Staples Canada for such a generous donation,” says Mayor. “That was an amazing gift to the 20 schools that became recipients this year. I’m looking forward to putting these items to use for our students.”

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