The program challenges students from across the Northwest Territories to collect outdated phone books so that they can be diverted from landfills.
In turn, Northwestel rewards schools with cash for field trips, school supplies, extra-curricular activities and other school-related events.
Paul Gillard, vice president of business markets with the telecommunications company, says eight schools participated in this year’s challenge, recycling 3,351 directories.
Mildred Hall was one of four Yellowknife schools that participated. Through the school’s efforts, 571 directories were diverted from the landfill.
“What’s really cool about the program, even though there’s an environmental benefit upfront, is what the kids do with the money,” he said.
“Mildred Hall is going to invest that money back into their community gardens so we have directories out of the landfill and food grown locally and distributed to the community.
“That’s like double-dipping on the environmental front.”
Andrea Harding teaches the Grade 4/5 class that spearheaded the recycling effort at Mildred Hall.
She says the funds will support the school’s Food Program, which allows students to grow their own produce to be distributed to students and community members in need.
“From what we’re able to grow, I’d say almost all of our students benefit in some way, whether it’s from our breakfast or lunch program or if it’s from them helping with the harvest,” said Harding.
“Almost every window sill in the school has plants in it with students taking care of them. Part of the Dene law is to share what you have and the students are learning about a lot more than just food.”
Harding says the school will use the funds to purchase soil, fertilizer, a new composting system and a new garden shed in partnership with Sir John Franklin High School.