New Brunswick

Grade 4 students lobby school to ban straws in an effort to save sea creatures

The children at Gibson Neill School in Fredericton have succeeded in convincing their cafeteria to do away with plastic straws in an effort to prevent harm to wildlife.

Stories of harm to wildlife prompt children at Fredericton elementary school to act

Grade 4 students at Gibson Neill School ditch their straws in an effort to protect wildlife from harm. (Catherine Harrop/CBC )

Horror stories of sea animals injured or killed by the plastics humans carelessly toss aside have inspired a Grade 4 class in Fredericton to act.

The children at Gibson-Neill Memorial Elementary School have succeeded in convincing their cafeteria to do away with plastic straws in an effort to prevent harm to wildlife. 

The campaign began after watching videos showing the damage plastics can do. (CBC )

It all began after watching some disturbing videos showing the damage the straws can do, including one of a sea turtle with a straw stuck in its nose.  

"The animals, it just makes you want to stop this," said student Xavier Kaiser.

A video showing a straw being extracted from a turtle's nose was one that caught the children's attention. The turtle became the symbol of the school campaign. (Catherine Harrop/CBC )

The students decided to write a letter to their principal and cafeteria head, explaining why the straws should be banned.

Sharon Hachey, who works in the cafeteria, said she took the letter home, and after talking about it with her grandson, decided it was "a very educated move" to remove them.

The children at Gibson Neill School in Fredericton have succeeded in convincing their cafeteria to do away with plastic straws in an effort to prevent harm to wildlife. 1:04

"She snapped right away and took out the straws. That was really surprising," said student Max Waugh.

Grade 4 student Max Waugh. (CBC )

Now, the class is showing other students how to drink straw-less.

They're also sharing the reasons for the straw ban with the rest of the school — and their families.

Teachers Lynn McGinn and Lynn Facey got their combined grade 4 class to write a letter to persuade Gibson-Neill Memorial School to get rid of plastic straws. (Catherine Harrop/CBC )

"My dad never knew anything about it," said Lily Morgan. "He knew there was a landfill but he didn't know that straws were hurting things and stuff."

Student Isabella McClosky says with the entire school on board, she's hoping she can convince her mother too.

Grade 4 student Isabella McClosky. (CBC )

"I was telling her I was not going to use a straw no more," she said. "And she said, 'But one person is only going to make a teeny tiny difference,' and now I'm like, 'What about 600 people?'"

Their next move is to convince other schools in the district to stop using plastic straws.

"Then Fredericton, then New Brunswick, then Canada, then North America, and then just the world," said Waugh.

With files from Catherine Harrop