Hunting Hills Enviro Club on their way to solar energy

Fundraising efforts are well underway and a goal of $40,000 seems more attainable to students at Hunting Hills after having reached the $20,000 mark recently.

The Environment Club, made up of 20 students and staff, are thankful to the two major donors who helped them reach this mark.

“We are really grateful for the $5,000 from Berry Architecture and the $10,000 from NOVA Chemicals,” said instructor Nancy Vanderwater.

Nikita-Kiran Singh, a Grade 12 student, said the money is a great start because it will allow the school to put some solar panels up this fall.

“There are no other schools with solar panels so we think it would be a great way to raise awareness. We want to show the community that the environment is worth investing in,” said Singh.

Anna McMillan, a Grade 10 student, said she would like to see a chain reaction start in the City once Hunting Hills has their solar panels installed.

The students have been making presentations to any interested businesses regarding the monetary benefits of the solar panels to the school as well as what kind of environmental impact they will have.

“We give them a background on what we have already accomplished as an Enviro Club which demonstrates that we are dedicated to our cause and that we have seen success in doing what we set out to do,” said Singh.

McMillan said she has enjoyed doing the presentations because it’s a good public speaking experience and because she feels the club is making a difference in the community.

Once the panels are up Vanderwater said the system has an interactive web site that shows the time of day and how much energy is being produced. She also said they would like to offer tours to other schools.

“It’s a really great thing to raise awareness and for kids our age to get involved in. It really is a huge difference just what solar panels can do for the environment,” said Grade 10 student Amy Metzger.

Vanderwater explained that after an evaluation of the electricity used in the school it was realized that thousands of dollars could be saved in energy bills if little things were done.

“I think it’s important for people to know that by making small steps towards helping the environment is key — even just by turning off one switch,” said Grade 10 student Brittany Lee.

The Environment Club has remained active in other tasks around the school including an entire Earth week series of projects and an ongoing anti-idling campaign.

The students agreed that the solar panels are a very important project and that fundraising will continue next year so they can achieve their goal of the full $40,000.

“It’s something that affects us all globally, it’s not just Red Deer. It’s important that everybody is involved and it is important to be proactive when it comes to the environment,” said Singh.

Vanderwater said they have applied for grants to help fund the project but that none have come through yet.

For more information or to get involved and help the Environment Club reach their goal contact Nancy Vanderwater at 403-342-6655 ext. 2236.