PEI

UPEI students use plantable greeting cards to grow environmental awareness in Island classrooms

A group of UPEI students is taking their plantable greeting cards into Island classrooms and then, into national competition. 

Enactus UPEI team won first place at regional competition and will now compete at nationals in May

The school presentations are part of the Enactus youth empowerment challenge. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

A group of UPEI students is taking their plantable greeting cards into Island classrooms and then, into national competition. 

Enactus UPEI created the project — called Bury and Bloom — as the group's pitch in competition against other university students.

The cards are made from recycled paper which is embedded with seeds so the cards can be planted.

The cards are made from recycled paper with seeds embedded in them so they can be planted. (Enactus UPEI)

The UPEI team attended the Enactus regional competition in Halifax in March and placed first in the environmental challenge, second in youth empowerment and third in entrepreneurship.

Some of the team will now travel to Vancouver, B.C. in May to compete at the nationals.

The school presentations are part of the competition.

"Enactus is partially about entrepreneurship but it's also about youth empowerment as well," said Sam MacLean, of Enactus UPEI. 

"I hope they learn a little bit more about how important climate change is, especially in this time."

The UPEI team attended the Enactus regional competition in Halifax in March and placed first in the environmental challenge, second in youth empowerment and third in entrepreneurship. (Enactus UPEI)

The 45-minute presentation talks about the importance of trees and bees and gives students examples of how they can cut back on their own waste.

The Enactus team gave the students a short quiz before and after they presented.

"To see what they knew about the environment going in and then to see what they took from our presentation," MacLean said.

"The children are actually very engaged and informed and have lots of questions for us that I wasn't actually expecting."

The 45-minute presentation talks about the importance of trees and bees and gives students examples of how they can cut back on their own waste. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

Curriculum connections

Grade 3 teacher, Jeana Graham, said her students at Donagh Regional School are learning about soil and agriculture as part of their science curriculum.

But she said it's great to have the material presented by the university students.

Grade 3 teacher, Jeana Graham, said her students at Donagh Regional School are learning about soil and agriculture as part of their science curriculum. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

"They're closer to their age," Graham said. "They're saying, 'Oh wow, this is someone else tying it in for us as well.'"

The most popular part of the presentation was when the Grade 3 students each got to plant a piece of a Bury and Bloom card which the kids described as "cool."

The group also landed an order from the City of Charlottetown for a new product, called seed coins, which have helped boost sales. (Enactus UPEI)

Growing sales

Sales of the new Bury and Bloom cards also impressed the judges at the regional competition. 

"Everyone was so surprised that we had just started this year and everything we had accomplished so far and how we had $1,000 worth of sales in two months, which is kind of unheard of," said Ashley Doucette, president of Enactus UPEI.

"Normally these projects take years to get to that level and even to develop can take years."

The blended paper scraps for the Bury and Bloom cards are pressed into a frame, then the water is squeezed out of the paper. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

The group landed an order from the City of Charlottetown for a new product, called seed coins, which have helped boost sales.

The Enactus team also received financial support for the Bury and Bloom project: $2,500 from 3M and $1,714 from Innovation PEI. 

Future plans

Doucette said the team from UPEI heads to the national competition with some important experience under their belts.

"We were all surprised and excited because we've never been to one before so we didn't really know what to expect going in," Doucette said. 

"We'd never seen another presentation." 

The Enactus team at UPEI surprised the judges with how quickly they pulled together their product. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

Doucette said a few members of the group will continue over the summer to manage small orders, and they'll continue with the seed coins because they are easier to make.

In September, she said, Enactus UPEI will be back up and running and expanding the Bury and Bloom project. 

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About the Author

Nancy Russell has been a reporter with CBC since 1987, in Whitehorse, Winnipeg, Toronto and Charlottetown. When not on the job, she spends her time on the water rowing, travelling to Kenya or walking her dog. Nancy.Russell@cbc.ca

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