The Eco Club at George Freeman School is made up of more than 50 students ranging from grade 4 to grade 9, and this fall they are taking on a brand new project thanks in part to grant funding and the hard work of the club. 

Associate Principal Jill McDonald and grade 4 teacher Carlie Laslo are spearheading a project with the Eco Club involving solar power or wind power, and on Wednesday the installation of a wind turbine and solar panel and George Freeman School took place.

The club worked with Scott Semeniuk from Crestview Electric to complete the installation on the storage shed behind the school in order to conduct their experiments. 

McDonald explained what the Eco Club is trying to accomplish, "They are trying to answer the question which type of sustainable energy is best in Strathmore. Is it wind or solar?"

solar panel and wind turbine The solar panel and wind turbine were installed successfully and the students are ready to begin their experiment!

The group received 2 grants totaling $10,000 from the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) and A+ For Energy. The group will use each source of energy to power the lights in the storage shed outside of George Freeman School. 

This will be an ongoing project for the students in the club and the science students will be getting involved to help collect the data. McDonald and Laslo are excited not only for the results, but also to have the collaboration between both the Eco Club and science students. 

This project has been a year in the making, and they are ready to share the results!

"This section of our project will go from September all the way to November. We're going to have a little community day where we kind of teach the community about the project," McDonald said.

"In terms of the actual sustainable energy project, we've got some meters that are going to be inside the garage and we've got some science kids that are going to come
and gather data and make some graphs for us. So hopefully in the next month, we'll get some preliminary data."

After the initial data, the students will monitor both the wind turbine and solar panel over the course of the year to see how each reacts in different seasons and conditions to determine which one is more effective for the area. 

Along with this project, the Eco Club will be working on additional projects this year including one on composting and one involving planting.  

McDonald is thrilled to have the Eco Club be a success and carry on what George Freeman was so passionate about.

"One of the reasons why the Eco club is really important for George Freeman School is because it's part of George Freeman's legacy. George Freeman was a conservationist and really valued the environment. He was part of Ducks Unlimited and did tons of different conservation work as part of his career, and also as a volunteer and so teaching kids that part of being an everyday hero is not just looking after each other, but also looking after the environment."

Seeing such a wide range of students come together for one common goal has been one of the highlights for everyone involved. 

"It's really cool to build a community and to see kids out on the bus, somebody in grade 7 hanging out with somebody in grade 4, or our grade 5 kids teaching our grade 2 kids about energy and how it works, so that opportunity to build community and to get to know each other is pretty beautiful."

The message they hope to pass to the students that they can take with them is that it is truly important to look after each and the environment any way they can, and that's an important part of our actions in the world.

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