It’s been a busy first three months back at school for Saugeen District Senior School Construction Technology students.
“Since we have no really big construction projects right now,” says their teacher Bud Halpin, “they have been busy making a difference in the community focusing on smaller but much-needed projects, as we have in the past.”
During the Beach Revitalization phase, the class of 21 students worked at both Southampton and Port Elgin beaches planting vital dune grasses to prevent sand erosion. “We also partnered with the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation to do beach rehabilitation at Brucedale Conservation area. All the planting of native dune grasses is part of the Green Ribbon Campaign to prevent sand erosion and provide beach protection,” says Halpin (https://www.lakehuron.ca/grc)
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Considerable work was carried out at Port Elgin Main Beach and Harbour where their hard work is very evident. Under the direction of Halpin, the students have made obvious changes. Each sun shelter/gazebo was re-painted and one, that was previously in water due to the high lake level was moved and now sits on a raised deck made from recycled lumber. “We reduce, reuse and recycle wherever and whenever possible,” says Halpin.
In addition, they created beds for the dune grasses and encircled them with 200 feet of nautical themed rope fencing.
“These kids are incredibly hard-working,” points out Halpin. “They moved 60 tons of riprap (stone) by hand to shore up the bank along the harbour. They walked two kilometres from the school, worked all day, and then walked the two kilometres back.”
Cam Ritchie shows how stone was movedThe students also completed a fence at the bussing area as part of the playground project and repaired and painted 10 broken picnic tables that the Town provided and that have now become an outdoor classroom.
They also built 25 benches that can be transformed into desks.
“The Town of Saugeen Shores has always been very supportive of the off-site work that the students do,” says Halpin.
“This is just a wonderful bunch of kids. Not once have I even had to tell them to maintain COVID protocols,” he adds, “and if volunteers are needed they step right up.”
Halpin has encouraged many students to go into ‘the trades’ and his classes over the past years have completed many large-scale projects such as the Southampton Fairy Lake Pavilion, the Coulter Parkette stage in Port Elgin, projects at the Port Elgin Airport, environmental projects at MacGregor Provincial Park, in addition to working on construction projects and builds including at Westlinks new housing development and creating stop-gap ramps for accessibility.