Students from Salt Spring Elementary School’s nature classes had first-hand experience of environmental protection on Thursday after finding a troubling dump situation affecting a local creek.
Grades three, four and five students from Gail Bryn-Jones’, Katharine Byers’ and Linda McDaniel’s classes were on a hike at Mouat Park shortly before noon when they noticed a number of paperback books in the stream just above the ArtSpring parking lot.
“We returned to school for lunch but knew we couldn’t ignore what we saw,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel returned to the scene with five students from each of the two classes after lunch to rescue the books and bring them back to class.
“With nothing more than 10 concerned students, five garbage bags, two bamboo sticks and a garbage pick-up device, our mission was successful,” McDaniel reported. “An estimated 29 pocketbooks were removed from the stream. They are now drying in the garden room of SSE.”
The group noticed a box nearby which may have been used to transport the paperbacks. McDaniel said she couldn’t imagine why anyone would dump a load of books into the water.
Options for recycling books on Salt Spring have decreased in the past year with the end of Canadian operations for a U.S.-based company that used to collect and resell them. However, the Salt Spring Recycling Depot still accepts material at its book exchange room when volunteers can be on hand. Lady Minto Thrift Store and the Transitions store accept used book donations, and Salt Spring Literacy’s Giant Book Sale event recirculates around 30,000 used books each year.