Local students pose with about 600 wooden easels they’ve made through the Saws for Schools Program. The easels will be part of a special gift for VIPs during the coming 2019 Canada Winter Games slated for February. Mark Weber/Red Deer Express

Local students delve into sustainability project in support of Winter Games

Project overseen by ‘Saws for Schools Club’ based at Central Middle School

About 50 local students rolled up their sleeves and helped design more than 600 small wooden easels – all in the name of sustainability and helping to support the coming Canada Winter Games.

Students from Gateway Christian School, Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School, Notre Dame High School and Central Middle School took part in the project.

“We have a program that we started here at Central called Sawing for Schools,” said Shawn Moore, owner of Red Deer-based Echo Tree. “And we came up with a plan that this would be a great way to introduce the Games to my Sawing for Schools Club that was started here.”

Sawing for Schools started out as a logs to lumber kind of demonstration, and grew into constructing things like playhouses and furniture, he said. “And it’s just grown from there.

“My company also got the contract to do most of the sites that had any tree removal for the Winter Games, so we took trees off of River Bend Golf Course, down at Great Chief Park for the skating oval, plus trees here at Central that had to come out.”

Wood from some of those trees was used to build the 618 small easels that will be part of special VIP gift packages during the Winter Games in February.

“That’s where all of my lumber supply comes from,” he said, referring as well to a picnic table that was built from the harvested wood.

”We teach the kids that rather than throwing it in the landfill, that we can use it,” he said. “We recycle it, and we have a tree-planting program as well so we replace what we take.”

Moore said the easels were assembled over three Saturdays at the four local schools.

“We had little (woodworking) jigs and we brought in some mentors, so the kids got busy stapling, gluing and drilling – they found out what jigs were, and we had a little assembly line as well.

“It was really fun to do,” he said, adding the project was a super opportunity for the kids to be part of essentially a local once-in-a-lifetime kind of event that is the scale of the Canada Winter Games.

About 50 students participated in the project, something that representatives with the Canada Winter Games are proud of as well said Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games board chair.

“We feel that sustainability is a huge component of the 2019 Games, and were thinking of how we could enhance that idea,” she said. “We found an effective way to re-use these trees for a gift for our VIPS.”

Scott Robinson, CEO of the 2019 Canada Winter Games Host Society, agreed.

“The Saws for Schools program allowed us to not only make the project but to also engage the kids in the project, too. That’s the story we want to tell to the guests coming from across the country, that this is Red Deer – this is how we come together and how we engage all kinds of people with our Games. As Lyn mentioned, it’s a tie to our sustainability projects as well, so it’s a great story. We also want our guests to know that we’ve been working hard on these types of partnerships,” he said.

Featuring 19 sports, more than 150 events and a major arts and cultural festival, the 2019 Canada Winter Games will welcome up to 3,600 athletes, managers and coaches and more than 20,000 visitors.

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