MATTHEWS – The ContainIt sustainability program at Covenant Day School is expanding its horizons.
ContainIt is a student-led initiative that started at the high school in 2014 that turns used shipping containers into transitional housing and other uses for the Lakota on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. But the school is branching out and has started Housing for the Homeless Tiny Home Project that will benefit those is need in Mecklenburg County.
Covenant Day has another student-led sustainability initiative called Restore 525 that provides an outdoor aquaponics system for residents of Grand Goave in Haiti.
To support both efforts, the students involved in both programs will host the Covenant Day School Sustainability Sporting Clay Shoot on March 15 at Meadow Wood Farms near Waxhaw. The event is the major fundraising event for both ContainIt and Restore 525.
There will be a morning and afternoon clay shooting competition with 30 four-person teams in each session. A catered lunch will be provided. The cost is $250 per person or $1,000 for a team. Go to www.cove nantday.org/sporting-clay for details.
“It’s all the skeet you want to shoot and all the shells you want to shoot,” junior Will Coburn said.
Students are in charge of planning and executing the event.
“This will also benefit sustainability programs that have stated in the elementary and middle school such as the Butterfly Garden at the elementary school,” junior Katherine Neil said.
ContainIt started in summer 2014, when the students started working on transforming used shipping container into dormitory space to provide a refuge for youth on the reservation. CDS students designed and built the first space before delivering the container to Pine Ridge in December 2015.
Since then, ContainIt has delivered three additional containers to the reservation, including three 40-foot containers that included a family unit with bath and kitchen facilities and a single unit with bath and kitchen facilities that is used as transitional housing. Last year, the students designed, built and delivered a container that housed a coffee shop.
“Students did all the work and that was a super, hands-on experience,” Neil said. “It was cool to be able to use things like a nail gun. Last year, we brought a coffee house container because it better suited the needs of the people out there. It provides jobs for the people out there, and it provides a place of hope for them. The cycle of poverty is so hard to break.”
Neil said most of the housing needs of the Lakota have been met and that is why the group is looking at making a difference closer to home. The new program is still in the planning stages as the group is figuring out zoning regulations and what construction materials will be needed for tiny homes, which are about 500 square feet. Students at East Mecklenburg High School are helping with the design phase of the project.
The Restore 525 project works with Mission of Hope International in Haiti to install an aquaponics system. CDS students have built a system on campus. They will transfer that knowledge to a system in Haiti that will fill a 16,000-square foot field with several replicas. Aquaponics is a farming technology where fish and vegetables are grown in a symbiotic system.
“Aquaponics is a farming system that is a pond connected to a greenhouse,” Coburn said. “It is a very good way to grow food with limited resources. The water is recycled throughout the system. In a nutshell, the plants produce chemicals that feed the fish. That water gets filled up with nitrate from the fish, which grows the plants. It’s a system that takes care of itself really well.”