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Thousands of students descend on Municipal Plaza for Mayor's Environmental Expo

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi meeting with grade 6 students from St. Catherine's School, at the 26th annual Mayor's Environmental Expo. 660News Ian Campbell

Municipal Plaza was packed Wednesday, full of students and their exhibits as part of the three-day 26th annual Mayor’s Environment Expo.

It’s an event designed to educate and empower over 3,000 students with simple actions they can take to protect the environment.

Among some of the displays, was one by St. Catherine’s School in Canyon Meadows who took a stab at “barrelponics.”

Underneath a table they placed tilapia fish in an aquarium. The fish waste gets pumped up with the water into a water system, that gets transferred into barrels fertilizing the plants, the plants clean the water and it’s then returned back to the fish.

“We just first wanted to have a garden but because of school board rules and regulations a garden outside wasn’t possible, an indoor greenhouse wasn’t possible, so we had to think outside the box and I have a friend that works at the Career and Technology Centre School. We came up with the idea of ‘barrelponics’, so I brought it back to the kids and they thought it was a great idea. They designed the system and we took it back to the Career and Technology Institute and had students there build it for us because we didn’t have access to the saws necessary to split the barrels and build the structure that supports it. So they gave it back to St, Catherine’s School, assembled it for us, and our kids, we planted all the plants and built it together.”

Each barrel is extremely heavy, Abel laughs it takes herself and four kids to move it.

Her students took a certain joy in being able to school the mayor on their project.

Owen helped spear-head the project and was happy with the final project.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” he said in referring to the expo. “Having lots of kids learn about the environment will help them in their future years to make this world a better place. It’s going to help our future generations, and generations to come. I think that if it’s not green, we won’t last as long in the world, having plants is a very important part of life.”

“I love the expo, it gets to help the community and the world and make it a better place,” said Ella. “We want the people after us, we want them to have a good life. We don’t want them to be living in polluted air, polluted water and not be able to have anything green.”

The Mayor’s Environment Expo continues until Thursday.