Winnipeg students tear up parking lot to build green space

Students at Miles Macdonell Collegiate swapped their pencils for shovels in an effort to turn a parking lot into an outdoor green learning space.

Around 50 students at the high school volunteered for the project, and were hard at work Thursday.

"It involved breaking up parking spaces, turning those back into green space," said Laura McCrindle, a teacher at the school. "There was an absence of space where the students could come and just enjoy being outside."

It is part of a project called 'Depave Paradise' with the Climate Change Connection organization.

The project will see the parking stalls turned into a gathering area with native plants that provide habitats for butterflies. It also aims to encourage students to enjoy the time outdoors – something that some students say is having a big impact on their learning.

"We've noticed that with the pandemic and what not, it really has put a strain on our learning – myself included," said Sidney Perron, a grade 10 student at Miles Macdonell Collegiate. "Having this outdoor space and this connection to the ground and the earth has been so important."

"We live in Manitoba – it is quite cold. But we still, when there are sunny days like this, we want to go outside and we want to enjoy the nice weather," said Kultaj Kaur, who is in grade 10 and was out working on the project Thursday.

McCrindle said the project will give students pride and a sense of ownership when it is complete.