A sustainable high school


I’ve been volunteering at Oilfields High School for the past semester with some interested students. Interested in what you ask? Interested in sustainability.

At the Town of Black Diamond’s Sustainability Fair, six kids spent their Saturday displaying and explaining what they are accomplishing when it comes to sustainability.

The students have three main focuses:

  • Fabric and costumes
  • Recycling and awareness
  • Construction

Now that summer is almost here, my volunteer time with the students has come to an end but my job is not done. I promised them I’d try to source out the tools and materials they need to keep going next fall. So, my lovely community, I’m asking nicely for some items.

The seamstresses and fabric artists have asked for:

  • a serger machine
  • fabric – except upholstery
  • embroidery thread
  • dyed wool (loose wool for felting)
  • buttons

The recycling and awareness group would very much like:

  • your attention – they have things to say
  • to learn more about our current (flawed) recycling system
  • a possible mentoring relationship with our local recycling providers
  • plywood to build recycling stations for the high school/elementary school

The builders of the group have dreams of a vertical hydroponic farm like this one on Instructables (a full materials list is included on this website) and a compost area on school property. This crew is hoping to find these materials:

  • 2″ and 3″ PVC pipe (schedule 40)
  • 2″ and 3″ PVC tees
  • 3″ PVC endcaps
  • 3/4″ PEX elbows and tees
  • water pump
  • LED lights (suitable for growing)
  • water pump timer
  • light timer
  • Raspberry Pi (fun but not completely necessary)
  • any local expertise on indoor growing and hydroponics

The composting crew would like:

  • buckets (to collect organic waste)
  • 2×6 or 2×8 lumber to construct the compost bins
  • compost thermometer
  • short spade(s) for turning the pile

The entire sustainability group, and likely the entire school would also welcome hand tools such as:

  • screwdrivers
  • small screwdrivers for taking apart electronics

If you have these items and wish to part with them, even if you have other items you’d like to donate, please, DO NOT drop them off at the school. Give me a call so either I or someone with ties to the sustainability group can take a look first. We do have some space to store the stuff until September so get cleaning, and thank you in advance for your generosity.

Repair Café

Big news from the Sustainable Black Diamond Advisory Committee (SBDAC):

On Saturday, March 16, 2019 from 1 to 4 a Repair Café is coming to our Town.

What is a Repair Café you ask? Check out this short video.

SBDAC is looking for both volunteer “fixers” with various skills like: soldering, electrical prowess, knitting, sewing, woodworking and more. If you have a skill you’d like to share and show off, contact me here and I’ll put you in touch with the organizers of the Repair Café.

Of course a Repair Café also needs things to fix, so bring your clean household items and personal effects down and let the team of “fixers” take a crack at a repair or two.

Hope to see lots and lots of you next month.

Repair Cafes

Harvesting rainwater

In the excitement to share photos of my huge tomato plants I realized I neglected to show how we get the rainwater.

It’s quite simple. We have four 1,000 litre tanks under the deck. We put on a new roof last year – metal – and put up new gutters at the same time. A simple diverter on the downspout feeds water into the tanks in the warmer months or out on to the lawn during winter.


The diverter

We rigged up a bunch of 4″ PVC pipe under the deck from the downspout and into one of the tanks.


Tank tops

To equalize all the rainwater in the tanks, we just ran hose off the valves on the front. It took a few hours to get all the tanks at the same level after the first rains but it doesn’t affect the operation.