Grade 9 students are soon going to learn more about Nova Scotia’s renewable resources. The departments of Education and Energy are working on a program to help students learn about renewable energy and the role it plays in the province’s electricity and environmental sectors. A small number of teachers from across the province gathered in Halifax today, March 24, to learn about the pilot program, called The Energy Around Us. “Nova Scotia is moving away from coal-based electricity and is going to generate more green energy,” said Energy Minister Bill Estabrooks. “By 2015, we want to generate 25 per cent of our electricity from renewable sources. As we move toward that future, it is important that we encourage students to learn more about renewables and the role they will play in our province.” Mr. Estabrooks, a former teacher, said the pilot program will encourage students to learn more about renewable resources and their role on a social, economic and environmental level. Education Minister Marilyn More said the hands-on program will use outcomes within the Grade 9 curricula and focus on renewable resources within Nova Scotia. “We know that students learn more effectively when they take a hands-on, minds-on approach,” said Ms. More. “This program provides the tools and ideas to enable educators and students to think critically and explore sustainable development issues from all angles, including how energy influences climate change.” Teachers from science, social studies and language arts will receive books, briefings from renewable energy experts, and a do-it-yourself wind turbine kit. Teachers will be encouraged to develop classroom activities using the resources, as well as expertise and materials from their communities. The pilot program will be offered in select classes across the province. Students will be encouraged to create projects that explore the impact of renewable energy on communities, the environment and provincial and local economies. Projects, debates and presentations will be showcased at a celebration in June. “This program is fairly flexible, which means students can try different project formats and explore subjects that are most relevant to them,” said Kathryn Creaser, a teacher at New Germany Rural High School. “The most important outcome is that students learn about renewable energy sources, which are a real part of their future.” Canadian Wind Energy Association president Robert Hornung presented model wind turbine kits to the teachers and said education is key as Canada moves to a green energy future. “Nova Scotia is showing leadership in youth engagement by creating opportunities for students to explore wind energy in their own communities,” Mr. Hornung said. “Education plays an essential role as the province makes the transition to sustainable energy. “If we want people to embrace new sources of energy, we need to find creative ways to help them fully understand the potential benefits this type of shift will have on their lifestyles, communities, environment and economy.” The Canadian Wind Energy Association is a non-profit trade association that promotes appropriate development and application of ind energy in Canada, including creating a suitable policy environment.