“They actually wanted to do a whole roof of solar panels for their school, but that’s too big of an undertaking”, Mr. Escobar Torio said. “While the cost has gone down tremendously, [solar panels] are still fairly expensive”. Mr. Escobar Torio, as a mentor, recommended the mentees to “scale down their project”.
Besides learning more about sustainability and the environment, mentees also acquire other skills that may be useful in the long run.
“What I like about this project is that it’s not just the environmental aspect, you’re also teaching them mathematical skills”, Mr. Escobar Torio remarked. “At the same time, they’re also learning language arts skills in the way they communicate their project”.
Currently, Mr. Escobar Torio and his mentees have applied and received funding for their project through the A+ for Energy grant. With funding, they’re now looking beyond solar panels to attain a more sustainable school for the mentees.
“They want to actually build a greenhouse for their school”, Mr. Escobar Torio said. “It’s basically
expanded from a solar panel project to a greenhouse, composting, [and] solar panel project”.
With this newly-modified project, Mr. Escobar Torio noted that the mentees “wanted something more practical”. He added that the greenhouse idea came about when the mentees realized that they “can generate energy [and] at the same time, involve other students”
Regarding any challenges Mr. Escobar Torio and his mentees encountered, he honed in on the idealism of the mentees.
“I think I had to put my foot down, as a mentor, and say [their] project is a little too big”, Mr. Escobar Torio said. “You just have to think more realistically to the point that you want this to go forward”.
Mr. Escobar Torio added that “there’s a wide range of activities that [the mentees] want to get involved in that they . . . get sidetracked and lose focus”. He emphasized that his “job as a mentor is to bring them back into focus”.
The general support far outweighed any possible obstacle. Mr. Escobar Torio remarked that “the school is very supportive when it comes to student projects”.
Alberta EcoTrust’s Annual Environmental Gathering acts as a critical space for conversation and relationship building. The Gathering was built on respect for different points of view, aimed at drawing everyone’s attention to find new solutions to environmental challenges. In the spirit of what the Gathering means for Albertans, Students on Sustainability was given an opportunity to showcase an art installation in the lobby of Mount Royal University over April 4th and 5th 2019 during the Gathering.
The theme of the art installation incorporated key findings from the Alberta EcoTrust Alberta Narratives Project in an inclusive, energy-focused, youth built exhibit around "Alberta's Energy History & Future". The display includes imagery of an old Albertan oil derrick, a geologic cross section, Indigenous land recognition, and an innovative vertical wind turbine, with a patchwork of art contributions from various youth groups including:
Siksika Nation High School, St. Vincent de Paul School, St. Ambrose School, and youth from Boys and Girls Clubs of Airdrie.
Following the Gathering, the art installation toured the participating schools before being showcased at the Nose Hill Calgary Public Library over July and August 2019 as part of the Calgary Public Library "Ultimate Summer Challenge."
During the winter of 2019 the installation began a one year tour through the Calgary Public Library system.
Library locations include:
Central (Dec 12 2019 - Feb 26 2020)
Fish Creek (Feb 26 - Mar 26)
Country Hills (Mar 26 - Apr 29)
Village Square (Apr 29 - May 28)
Forest Lawn (May 28 - Jun 29)
Shawnessy (Jun 29 - Jul 29)
Saddletowne (Jul 29 - Aug 28)
Bowness (Aug 28 - Sep 28)
Judith Umbach (Sep 28 - Oct 28)
Nicholls (Oct 28 - Nov 27)
Seton (Nov 27 - Dec 28)
Crowfoot (Dec 28 2020 - Jan 29 2021)
The concept was created by Patrick Duke at the University of Calgary. Support comes from The University of Calgary Graduate Students Association, The University of Calgary Office of Sustainability and Alberta EcoTrust.
This art installation would not have been possible without our sponsors and all the work put in by so many others!
Thanks to the Graduate Students' Association of the University of Calgary for financially supporting the project! Adam Patterson and Jo Luke Giles at Scatliff Miller Murray for the design template, Al Ehman for his outstanding carpentry building the tower base, John McBean at Plastic Works Inc for cutting our turbine pieces, White Ice Ltd. for donating the plastic, Paige Murphy for creating our decal and plaque, Jim and Cathy Duke for all their hard work varnishing and assembling, Claude Labelle for helping with assembly, Feyre Gezahegn for her belief in the project, Olivia Reshetylo for discussing initial design ideas, Parisa Rahimian and Nick Butt for helping mobilize students on campus, University of Calgary Office of Sustainability for offering a space and finding volunteers to help stain and build, Suzanne Chew for recommending us to Alberta Ecotrust Foundation during a 2019 Environmental Gathering planning meeting, all the friends and students who volunteer for Students on Sustainability that came out to help, and of course the youth and educators at Siksika Nation High School (designed and built the headpiece), St. Vincent de Paul School (painted acrylic on wood), St. Ambrose School (oil paint on canvas) and Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie (acrylic on lowest section) for really making this art installation their own expression of "Alberta's Energy History and Future."