Chelsea Hounsell can recall when she began to take a more active interest in environmental issues.
It was after she first saw ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ the highly successful 2006 film that documented former United States Vice President Al Gore’s efforts to spread the message about climate change.
The Marystown Central High School graduate is starting her first year in the Marine Environmental program at the Marine Institute this fall.
Along with a trio of other youths from the area, this summer she’ll get an opportunity to spread an environmental message herself, as members of one of Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador’s Green Teams.
“I remember going to my mom, and I was like, ‘you’ve got to watch this movie!’”
Smallwood Crescent Community Centre in Marystown is sponsoring the local team, which also includes Samantha Cleal, Cody Barnes and Dillon Drake.
Executive director Darrell Jackman indicated the team started July 3 and will be active with various environmental-related activities around the Smallwood Crescent area, as well as throughout the broader Marystown and Burin region, until the end of August.
“It’s been a few years since there’s been one in the area, and the Conservation Corps was interested in coming back out to the Burin Peninsula. We were interested in it, and made the partnership, and lucky enough to get the team back on the peninsula.”
Ms. Hounsell said the team will be planting flowers, collecting recyclables and generally cleaning up the community throughout the summer.
The Green Team also held its first of five environment awareness events at the community centre Tuesday, featuring a puppet show for children.
“We’d like to get as many people involved as we can, sort of just like let them know the basics of climate change, get the idea in their heads. Tell them little things like they’re supposed to recycle their pop cans and ride their bikes.”
Ms. Housell noted the team is also looking for as many volunteers as possible to participate in a ‘Big Green Team Cleanup’ July 31 at a location to be determined.
The Green Team program is the flagship initiative of the Conservation Corps and has provided the organization's main work force since 1993.
Supporting the efforts of communities, organizations, businesses, corporate patrons, governments and individuals to improve Newfoundland and Labrador’s natural and cultural environment, it also provides meaningful training and work experience to the province’s young people.
Ms. Hounsell said she hopes to see a Green Team in the area every year.
As for helping the environment, she believes the simplest and most important thing people can do is reducing the amount of trash they produce.
“Very few people around here compost. That’s an easy thing to do and you drastically reduce your amount of trash. And a lot of people don’t recycle because it’s inconvenient. We don’t have curbside pickup here, so people tend not to do it because it’s not so easy. It’s just throw it in the trash.”