Students at Glenwood Public School are helping mitigate the environmental impact of the construction of the $1.6-billion Herb Gray Parkway.
Through the Wings Penny Drive, they're raising money to help save and rehabilitate any animals - including snakes - injured during nearby parkway construction.
"Because everything should have a right to live no matter what you look like," said Grady Caplin, a Grade 5 student.
Construction broke ground in August 2011 and steaming ahead, with a new section of Highway 3 set to open Wednesday.
"It's taken away so much of the animals place, where they've been born, they've raised up," said Nik Mariagoudakis.
The environment around the construction site is home to six endangered plant species as well as the Butler's garter snake and Eastern fox snakes -- two endangered snake species. Before construction began, both snake species were relocated to adjacent appropriate habitats. Plants located near the parkway but outside the construction area will be preserved while the remaining endangered plants will either be relocated or planted anew.
Parkway officials say they took many expensive measures, such as snake fences, to preserve and protect the environment.
"Twenty years ago, it definitely was not as big of an issue as it is now," parkway project director Michael Hatchell said of conservation and environmentalism. "We've moved or relocated probably more than 2,000 snakes, for example. We've moved and relocated more than 100,000 plant species. So a lot of that is taking place, looking at the environment, trying to minimize the impact on the environment as a whole."
The teacher leading the fundraising effort said it's an important lesson.
"In this case, they understand their particular contribution is small, but when it's a whole community, a whole school, then it will have an impact," John Anton said.
Students are aiming to raise between $350 and $400. Wings Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Amherstburg is a charitable, non-profit organization that rescues and rehabilitates wildlife.
When the parkway is complete in 2014, it is to include 240 acres of parkland in surrounding areas, over 20 kilometres of cycling and pedestrian trails and 11 tunnel sections to bury the roadway as it passes through different communities.