Killaloe – It is often said the future of our planet is in the hands of the children and last Tuesday night, two young students from Killaloe Public School showed we are in good hands moving forward.

Grade 1 student Alex Robinson and Grade 2 student Avery Frew appeared before Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards (KHR) council where they made a request to council suggesting a way to help clean up the local environment.

The students at KPS have been active participants in the recent Environmental Action Tour, and the request originated from that project.

“Our class has been learning about our local and global community,” Alex told council. “We did a ‘trash tally’ of our town and found a lot of garbage on Cameron Street, near the rink.”

 Alex said the students were concerned about this, so they contacted Chris Neff, the community development co-ordinator, with their ideas and suggestions.

 “Chris then came to speak with our class to talk about how we can help the environment,” Alex noted.”

“We think that if we put up signs or have another trash can put at Cameron Street, it might help this litter problem,” suggested Avery. “Our class appreciates you taking the time to listen to our concerns and ideas.”

Both Alex and Avery also thanked council for welcoming them to the meeting.

Mr. Neff explained KPS Grade 1 and 2 teacher Gelene Trebinskie invited him to speak to her class after the Environmental Action Tour.

“They were very concerned about the amount of litter they found on Cameron Street,” he said. “That seemed to be where the concentration was.

“So, they reached out to me, which I really appreciated, because I think it takes a lot for anyone, especially young people to take action in their community,” he added. “I talked with Tammy (CAO Gorgerat) and thought it would be a really good learning opportunity for the kids if I went and spoke with them and talked a little about local government and how, if you work together and have a common goal, that you can achieve great things in the community.”     

He said the next step is to reach out to the local government with ideas and suggestions so everyone can work together to help build the community into a better place.

Mr. Neff said after he left, the class participated in a vote to see who would represent them at council and Alex and Avery were chosen.

 “I really appreciate them being here and for young people to have such open minds and care so much about the environment. It’s really important.

“I thought it would be a great learning opportunity for them to come to council, so I talked to Tammy again and we invited them to council as a delegation so they could see the whole process through, from beginning with an idea, to talking and working together, to bring the idea to local government” he added. “And now we’re going to discuss as a local government what we can do to listen to your concerns.”

He congratulated Alex and Avery for being brave enough to do their presentation flawlessly, reminding them their schoolmates would likely be watching live or see their presentation the following day.      

Councillor Maureen MacMillan asked the girls if their request for a trash receptacle and signage was specifically for Cameron Street or other areas too. 

“Ya,” Alex replied.

Ms. Trebinskie explained the students had done four areas of the town during the Environmental Action Tour and that’s where the most garbage was collected. She said they discussed how just putting the garbage cans out would not be enough, that the signs would remind the public to use them.

Coun. MacMillan suggested the class might be interested in creating a sign that could be used at the location of the garbage can, which Ms. Trebinskie said had been discussed. Councillor Ted Browne said council could put a can there as a sort of trial to see if anything is collected and proceed from there.

Mayor Mayville suggested once the can is put there, students could report back on how much was collected.

Councillor Brian Pecoskie thanked the girls for their “wonderful” presentation, adding it’s great to see the younger children showing an interest in the environment. 

He also suggested inviting the OPP to the school for a similar presentation to see if they have any solutions to the littering.

“It is against the law to throw garbage out,” he noted.

Councillor Harold Lavigne said there were a couple of recycling bins at the Round Lake rink that could be put out as well for recycling items.  

“When the garbage gets picked up they could pick up the recycling at the same time,” he suggested.

Councillor Bil Smith perhaps paid the girls the highest compliment when he said he felt they would be leaving the planet in a better place than we have left it through their environmental actions.

“You’re the best delegation we’ve had,” Coun. MacMillan said.

Mayor Mayville told Alex and Avery they had set a new standard for other delegates.

“You set the bar way high,” he commented. “If you two represent our future in this field, wow, I’m very excited.

“I can hardly wait to see it and keep the speech going,” he encouraged. “Don’t stop. Keep telling everybody what you’re spreading.”