Playground Equipment Installed

Ahhhh, the playground equipment has arrived for the new Highland University Elementary School.

It’s will be coming up to a year since the school opened September 2010. As you can imagine, the equipment was on the wishlist of some of the kids.
One of the teachers’ projects was a wall of individual comments from kids that was posted inside the lobby (located in proximity to the fancy digitized panel that reads out energy consumption, water consumption etc.) in the LEED school building.

A strange fiscal fact of a new school is that the playground equipment needs to be paid for by the parents advisory board. The parents advisory board finally raised the funds for the equipment as you can see today…with the help of a fundraising lunch hosted at Club Ilia.

Our ongoing roll as residents

It’s been three years since UNES formed.
Our first task was a petition for a half-sized playing field for the new school. We believed that retention of the second growth forest was of value to the community and the kids. We sent a petition of 254 signatures to the Burnaby School Board. Our members attended meetings with SFU Trust and the School Board Directors.

We saved a few additional trees. The full-sized field could not be discouraged.
Perhaps you know that already…

Today
We now have strawberries growing where once residents gathered to pick wild salmon berry and thimbleberry from along the side the path (now paved). These are a welcome addition from the community planners at SFU Trust(?) Last night I noticed edible mahonia Nervosa berries (Aug 11, 2011).

Every evening this week little hands and adults alike are happily picking.

I’m not too pleased with the paving, and wish we could have seen a gravel, permeating surface.

The Kids are our Future

The members of UNES believe it is important to connect with the teachers and kids on projects involving our natural surroundings.

I have been nursing a small grove of Rattlesnake Plantain on my balcony that Pablo Vimos and I rescued in June 2011 from Parcel 22, a site slated for development, with a plan to donate it to the school.

There is a small mythology around these plants.

During the Elementary School Development site Native Plant Rescue hosted by UNES I heard of a magical grove of orchids from one of my neighbours. We never found this grove, however; with a little luck and exploring, it was located this year!

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I hope to work with Lori Druissi (the principal) and with the Parent Advisory Board to plant these in the Water Garden located at the North end of the school. So that future generations know the rare orchids indigenous to our mountain.

What can we do for the kids for the future to assure they have clean air, clean water and know the diversity we have enjoyed on the mountain?

Best,
Vivian Sorensen
UNES

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