Strathmore High School's (SHS) greenhouse has been nominated for a $2000 prize by the Alberta Emerald Foundation (AEF). The AEF showcases people and groups who are raising the bar in addressing environmental and climate change issues. Of the 15 categories, the high school's greenhouse is one of three nominations under the Youth Category.

SHS teacher Cole Hintz said it's really exciting to be nominated and have another chance to tell their story through the AEF awards, and it's one of many things he and the school are looking forward to this Spring.

"We have some really exciting things coming, number one being the community-created permaculture education space that will be around there. We also will have our off-grid solar array getting built and wired up to the greenhouse. We also have a really nice sign that's being designed by Phoenix signs in town that's going to recognize all of our donors and community partners that have allowed us to get to this point."

Permaculture is a big focus for the students, and Hintz explained this is when you use "observations from nature to design landscapes that work you versus work against you." This includes considering daylight hours, where the sun shines the most, water storage, and more.

One unique aspect of the greenhouse is that for the most part, it's student-run. This includes a group of students who took on the solar project, so they're currently working on putting together a solar array that will power the greenhouse. While industry professionals are needed for certain aspects of the project, Hintz explained he tried to make it as student-focused as possible.

"That was part of the draw that drew these guys into building the solar array, they are interested in the future in engineering. As we get closer to hooking everything up, they'll have some opportunities to talk with or work alongside industry professionals when it comes to finishing up that project."

Other initiatives surrounding the greenhouse project include a group of students who went to Olds College and they came back with a composting project for the greenhouse and school, as well as a planned grand opening in the near future to showcase what the school has been doing to the community.

If you'd like to get involved in the greenhouse, Hintz said they're always open to having community groups join them, as they have space for groups to grow plants alongside the high school's projects.

The award show will take place on June 7 at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton. Hintz said the school plans on attending, but is still working out what that looks like. The award show will also be livestreamed through the AEF's Youtube channel.

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