They may only be 7-8 years old, but students from Park Street Elementary School in Fredericton, N.B. proved that charity comes in all shapes and sizes. In this case, the shape of a candy-cane.
As part of a giving back unit, student-teacher Molly McIntyre tasked her grade 1-2 split class with brainstorming ways to raise money for charity during a season that is so often associated with receiving gifts.
After reflecting and sharing, the class ultimately decided they wanted to make a difference for DUC, after learning about wetland conservation in a unit called “you and your world.”
The common link: cleaning up litter and wetlands
Students had been engaging in serious thought and discussion about how they could improve parts of the environment they see in their everyday lives. With a shared passion for wildlife, they identified litter and garbage as a major problem facing animals they cared about.
“The kids were really receptive [to DUC],” said McIntyre, who was inspired to incorporate wetland conservation into her curriculum after attending a DUC presentation at St. Thomas University.
“The kids love ducks and all sorts of animals. They pick up litter around school, so they related to the idea of cleaning up wetlands really well.”
The kids had identified the “who, what and why” of their cause, but one crucial question remained: how would they raise the money?
As most minds usually do at that age, the students thought of one thing; candy.
Fundraising students recognized as Wetland Heroes
The class decided they would sell candy-grams featuring the holiday season’s premier sweet-treat; candy-canes. Their initial fundraising target was $30, a number which they felt should not be too lofty for grade 1-2 standards.
However, no Christmas miracle is too small. Ms. McIntyre’s class ended up raising upwards of $100 in candy-cane sales, more than tripling their initial goal.
“They have completely blown my expectations out of the water,” said Sam Brewster, the DUC Education Specialist for New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. To honour their contribution to wetland conservation, Brewster attended a surprise ceremony at Park Street Elementary School to hand each student an official “Wetland Hero” certificate.
The students were not told why Brewster was attending, but after she read an official DUC thank-you letter of acknowledgement, their excitement filled the room.
“They were cheering and arm pumping. Many of them came up me after to tell me thank you,” said Brewster.
“I kept saying to them ‘no thank you, you guys did all the hard work’.”
Do you know a Wetland Hero?
Help DUC recognize young people, ages 25 and under, who help conserve wetlands. Their projects can be big or small, as long as they contribute to conservation, innovation, raising awareness or advocacy. Exceptional projects may qualify for a small financial award to help move their efforts forward.Learn More