Make a Difference Club

Save Somenos Marsh

School: Bench Elementary

Votes Received: 221

The Make a Difference Club students from Bench Elementary School have been lobbying the local government to save a very sensitive eco system (Somenos Marsh). They are concerned about the harmful effects of pollution from storm drains and land development on the Somenos Marsh. Damage to the marsh will have a negative impact on the fresh water supply, wildlife and vegetation in this area. The students believe the only way they can truly make a difference is to speak to their local government and bring media attention to their concerns. These are passionate students who have taken on this new challenge as a follow-up to last year's project which aimed to ban plastic bags in the Cowichan Valley. Here is an overview of what they have been doing for the past year: In 2008 the students began decorating and selling cloth bags for people to use instead of plastic bags. The money raised from selling the bags went to help Dr. Geoff Cohn’s See Again Eye Program in Myanmar and the homeless shelter in Duncan. After hearing about the horrors of plastic bags they decided to create an action plan to get plastic grocery bags banned from the Cowichan Valley. In February they met John Horgan, Member of Parliament for the Malahat – Juan de Fuca riding He liked their presentation so much he gave the students a private tour of the legislature and introduced the students to the Minister of Environment and the members of the house. He suggested the students lobby the local politicians. The students gave a presentation to Duncan city council. They liked the presentation so much they passed a recommendation to refer the subject of banning plastic bags to the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s Environment Commission. Some students spoke at the Community Environmental fair in Duncan, BC. They also sold their reusable cloth bags. Their next plan of action was a presentation to the CVRD( Cowichan Valley Regional District) board. Although the use of plastic bags has decreased and Mill Bay Thrifty Foods has installed signs to encourage reusable bags, the community is still using too many plastic bags. At present, the students are collecting data for another attempt at getting the CVRD to ban plastic grocery bags. When the students heard about the lack of water monitoring and the potential development around the Somenos Marsh they decided to be a voice for the animals and wildlife of Somenos Marsh. These are dedicated, committed, compassion and action oriented children who are determined to make a difference in their community and the world. For a faster view of the presentation to council members, go to and search for Save Somemos Marsh 2.

Mentors Consulted

Destination Conservation
Sierra Club
Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society



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