Samantha Lee and other members of the R.E. Mountain Aquaponics team helped the school win $25,000 in new technology through a Staples Canada-wide contest. The school found out they won at an assembly on Wednesday.

Samantha Lee and other members of the R.E. Mountain Aquaponics team helped the school win $25,000 in new technology through a Staples Canada-wide contest. The school found out they won at an assembly on Wednesday.

Mountain students help win $25K

Langley school's environmental initiatives help them win Staples Canada Superpower Your School Contest

The ingenuity and hard work of students at R.E. Mountain Secondary has paid off.

Students at the school found out on Wednesday afternoon that they had won the Staples Canada Superpower Your School Contest.

In collaboration with Earth Day Canada, the nationwide contest was held between Dec. 3 and Jan. 29 with nearly 630 students from across the country entering.

The schools submitted what initiatives they had implemented to help save the planet.

Out of all the submissions, 10 schools from across the country were selected as winners. Each receives $25,000 worth of new technology from Staples Canada.

The assembly was attended by Mountain’s Grade 9 students as well as members of the school’s Green Team and Aquaponics team.

The students believed they were at the assembly to learn they had been selected as a finalist.

Ranj Sehdev, the general manager of the Langley Staples store was on hand to make the announcement.

He cited the school’s recycling efforts, which include their composting system, water refilling station, adopt a street program and their tree planting.

Since they began these programs, the projects have resulted in a significant decrease in the waste produced by the school.

Another area they excelled in was their establishment of the Green Conference, which unites Langley schools to discuss environmental issues.

And then there is the work of the aquaponics team.

Aquaponics is the creation of a small scale ecosystem in which fish feces provide fertilizer for plants, which are harvested for human consumption.

Requiring just over a cup of fish food every month, this 100 litre system has a substantial yield. The food produced from this is then donated to a local food bank.

The idea for the aquaponics came from Grade 12 student Samantha Lee and her sister Jasmine, who is in Grade 10.

They were inspired by their dad, who has an aquaponics system in the family’s backyard.

“We thought we needed a new way to have a sustainable green way of agriculture,” explained Jasmine.

“The feces from the fish go up to the plants. And the plants filter out the (bacteria) and converts it into nitrate, and the water goes back down to the fish and now it is clean water, so it is self-sustainable so you don’t have to change out the water.”

Samantha added that they hope to spread the program to the community and other schools.

“It is not too difficult to do. We are not geniuses,” she said.

Another member of the team, Gurkeerat Chhina said the Green Team has been instrumental as well.

“The Green team has really been carrying the school with their programs.”

“We might do some of the more innovative things but they do the more traditional things,” said the Grade 12 student.