Archive for the 'kids' Category

Texada School says “thank you!”

By Tom Read

A vocal jazz rendition of "Theme From Spiderman" resonates around the village of Van Anda from Texada School's playground last Friday, part of community appreciation day at the school

“We may be small but we’re mighty.” That’s Texada School Principal Carol Brown’s apt description of our community’s little (28 students this year) but vigorous school.

The Texada Island community has responded warmly to Ms. Brown’s leadership, enthusiastically supporting the school in many ways. Just to name a few, community volunteers provide hot meals one day a week, give kids extra academic help, conduct ongoing workshops on social and historical topics,  and contribute funds for extra-curricular activities, including field trips. Yesterday (Friday), the school formally thanked the community of which it is a part, and Linda and I were privileged to attend the festivities.

And what an abundance of festivities! Not one, but two very talented youth jazz groups from Powell River gave a concert to be remembered. Community volunteers (mainly husbands of local teachers) put on a delicious picnic lunch barbeque. A much-anticipated mural unveiling took place — an art piece designed and created by students with the help of a local artist that interprets our island’s industrial heritage of mining and logging.

While I enjoyed the entire event, the most meaningful part for me was the one-on-one reading session that started the afternoon. I got to sit with a student named Austin while he read to me from some of his favourite books. In the end he departed from the program a little by asking me to read a few stories to him. I know that parents do this routinely, but as a non-parent I found the experience an unexpected pleasure.

Austin and I enjoy a one-on-one reading session earlier in the day

Maybe that’s what healthy communities do best — help connect people who otherwise might not learn to appreciate each other.

And the weather on this special day? Perfect!


Kids know

By Tom Read

Al explains how a solar thermal tube can heat water using the sun's energy, at the second annual Kids for Saving Earth Texada Day Camp. Photo: Jeffrey Weber

Al explains how a solar thermal tube can heat water using the sun's energy, at the second annual Kids for Saving Earth Texada Day Camp. Photo: Jeffrey Weber

Monday of this week I found myself seated in front of two dozen very eager six-to-twelve year old kids at the Texada Community Hall, talking about energy — what it is, why we need it, how we get it and the value of conserving it. Thus began day one of the second annual Kids for Saving Earth Texada Daycamp, or “KSE Camp,” as we’ve taken to calling it. Four more days were to follow, exploring the island’s natural environment. Photos and more can be found at

Anyway, on Monday the kids — and some teen and parent volunteers, too — learned about renewable and non-renewable energy sources. Show-and-tell included a battery-less digital electronic clock that we powered through a chemical reaction by combining salt and tap water inside a clear plastic case with two electrodes. Among other renewable energy-makers we got to see a microhydro turbine, and a brief explanation of how it works when it’s hooked up on a creek.

But the most hands-on example was provided by Al Davis, who showed us how a solar thermal tube can quickly heat water using the power of the sun.  Al started with cold tap water from the Community Hall kitchen poured into the tube, then placed it in sunlight outdoors. Forty-five minutes later he used a digital thermometer to measure a 17 degree increase in water temperature inside the tube, from 20 to 37 degrees centigrade. Everybody got to stick a finger in the tube to feel how warm the water had become in that short time. If he had waited much longer the water would have become too hot to touch.

As part of my talk I wanted to demonstrate the finite nature of oil as an energy source by using an object that would be familiar to my audience. So I held up a juice box (apple, in this case) and asked: “how is the juice in this box like oil in the Earth?”  Right away a girl in the front row shot back with the concise answer: “they’re both limited.”  Yes!

A follow-up demonstration by one of our teen volunteers, using straws to represent oil wells, showed how one will deplete one’s supply of juice (or oil) more rapidly as the number of straws/wells increases. Kids know — about the fundamental truth that non-renewable energy sources are limited, and if you want to conserve some for the future you’ve got to take sips, not ever-increasing gulps.

Post facto

May 2018
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