Quest Tutor Ellen Flournoy fills us in on waste management at Quest and how we can help reduce waste at home.

Tell us a bit about the “No More Garbage” video. What inspired it?

My Rhetoric classes always create a video for local organizations. Research shows that student learning is deeper and more meaningful when they work with external partners to create something for community use, as opposed to creating something for a grade.

The pedagogical term for this kind of learning is “authentic learning,” because the external partner has authentic expectations and it creates a real-world experience, including feedback and revisions that simply can’t be simulated as effectively in the classroom.


That’s such great experience! Did anyone else collaborate with the students?

Most of our videos have been created with Krystle ten Brink, manager of Career Development & Experiential Learning, and former board chair of the Squamish Climate Action Network.

Krystle, who knows everyone in the Sea-to-Sky corridor, matches my students with local organizations. Past collaborations include the District’s composting program, how to choose the most energy-efficient light bulbs, and bylaws for keeping chickens in residential neighbourhoods.


Any surprising results from the studies?

I think this year’s student cohort was surprised by Sam Leigh’s research, which shows how effective signage can transform waste management for anyone wanting to create or maintain a sustainable system.

Also, these projects very often reach some sort of crisis point when it seems like the project may fail, but the group pushes through and ends up with a great product!


Has the project inspired any follow-up work?

Ask me next year! I’ll always use this great work as an example for other Rhetoric students, who may get another opportunity to create video for Quest’s waste management. As for authentic learning at Quest, just take a look around! Authentic learning is always going on!

Recently, I’ve collaborated with Quest Tutor Natalie Burzstyn, the recipient of this year’s teaching award, to place student Claudia Tersigni’s work at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. The center is a veterinary hospital, rescue, and museum that provides educational turtle resources in one of the world’s biggest breeding grounds for five of the eight species of sea turtles.


Finally, what are some ways we can contribute at home to reduce waste?

One thing I have done for my family is to use Sam’s signs at home. We have printed and laminated her latest Quest signs that align with the signs recommended and added them to our recycling station in our laundry area. Those signs are so clear that even my kindergartner, Leo, can recycle correctly.

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