Taking Climate Action with Fundy Shores Elementary School

Aug 9, 2023


April 20th, 2023 – The Gaia Project team packs up and enjoys a beautiful drive from Fredericton to a small school along the Fundy Coast. It’s Earth Week and students across the province are learning about the impact they have on the planet. The Gaia Project facilitates climate action programs throughout the school year, but this lesson is a little differen

The team unloads and is welcomed by friendly school staff within the front doors. They quickly find a cozy spot outdoors, nestled between three school walls, where students and materials are protected from the wind. The bell rings; K-2 students gather for a climate action-themed story time and discussion, patiently existing the school doors one-by-one. 

Guylaine introduces herself to a group of students

Program Manager, Guylaine Doucet-Ferguson, introduces herself and begins reading What Matters by Allison Hughs (a fun and age-appropriate way to introduce young children to the concept of conservation and recycling). The children are quick to share their stories, such as how they’ve picked up litter with their families in the past. 

Guylaine reads a story to a group of children

After a short discussion it’s time for the children to roll up their sleeves and put into practice what they’ve learned (and they are all too eager!). Split into three teams, who will collect the most? Off they go! 

The students collect litter on the school grounds

After 30 minutes the students filled three large garbage bags. What already appeared to be a very clean school yard just got a lot cleaner! A short discussion gave children an opportunity to reflect on their experience and discuss ways that they can reduce waste from ending up in their school yard. The bell rings again, and the students are off to their classroom.   

The program, however, is only half over. Next, grade 3-5 students start filing into the cozy outdoor nook one at a time, finding a suitable spot to sit. Guylaine showcases the bags filled with playground litter that the younger students previously collected, as well a few bags of trash that were brought outside from within the school. 

Guylaine starts quizzing the students about what belongs in each bin, and challenges them to sort through and organize the contents of each bag. The Gaia Project team hands out gloves, splits the students into small groups and the waste audit begins! 

Guylaine starts quizzing the students about what belongs in each bin, and challenges them to sort through and organize the contents of each bag. The Gaia Project team hands out gloves, splits the students into small groups and the waste audit begins!

Students sift through apple cores, yogurt containers, scrap paper and cartons. At the end, there is a clear visual representation of how much school waste is actually trash, and how much is recycling, compost and refundables. 

Guylaine brings the students together for a final group discussion, Q&A and brainstorm; what projects can students implement at school to help reduce school waste? How can waste be reduced at home? What are some actions that students can take themselves in order to minimize litter and waste? 

The bell rings. 

Students wash their hands and line up at the front of the school, entering in a line. They head back to class with new ideas, perspectives and purpose. Through this hands-on, fun and explorative lesson, the students at Fundy Shores Elementary School are eager to make climate action part of their daily routines. 

“The Gaia Project was a really wonderful way for our kids to take what they already know about Earth Day (what they’ve learned in their classes) and apply it to real life within our school community.”

– Ashley
McDade, Resources & Guidance, Fundy Shores School


The Gaia Project and school facilitators stand outside the school entrance with the collected bags of waste


Author: Katelyn Plant, Marketing & Communications Manager, The Gaia Project

Follow us on social for more stories, news and updates:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/gaiaproject
Instagram: @thegaiaproject_
Twitter: @gaiaproject
LinkedIn: @thegaiaproject-projetgaia
TikTok: @thegaiaproject_

  • The youth of today are the leaders, innovators, scientists, entrepreneurs and decision makers of tomorrow. The Gaia Project is a unique organization helping students to understand and take action against this existential threat, now and in the future.

    John Reid


  • Young people have a role in protecting our climate today and tomorrow, this is why we're happy to support The Gaia Project in their mission of empowering youth.

    Krista Han

    Managing Partner - New Brunswick, Grant Thornton LLP

  • Opportunities with The Gaia Project have helped to bring about real changes, not only in the students' understanding and views of the world around them and their capacity to help, but also in the way the school is actually run as we have made concrete changes in some of our energy consumption strategies and practices.

    Brent Rowney

    Teacher at Oromocto High School

  • Thank you, I told my parents what we did in class and now they want to recycle at home!


    Student, Parkwood Heights Elementary School