Knowlesville Art and Nature Centre, New Brunswick
A spiral effect
Even though we’re in a small community in Knowlesville it’s important to have a reduced impact. I’m very proud that energy from the sun is currently the only thing powering our school.
This solar array on our community centre — that the Bullfrog Power community helped fund — is important to us for many reasons. One of those is commitment. Thematically, the community has become very forward-focused, choosing how they want to run and power their community centre. This commitment is inspiring other decisions in the community, creating a spiral effect.
Limitations often force you to be creative
Another reason is education. Instead of having to be taught about renewable energy in the curriculum, our students are living it. Some of the students actually live in off-grid houses, and they end up teaching staff about elements of the array — so there’s a neat inter-generational thing happening here. Our students understand the importance of things like turning off the lights, and conservation and they’re often the ones leading the charge.
The solar project is also promoting creativity. Because we rely solely on renewable energy, we have to think about how we can do things more efficiently. For example, a fall craft project with the students that used to rely on an iron (and electricity) to press leaves between wax paper transformed into a felt leaf mobile project (requiring no power!). The transition was inspired by the students. Limitations often force you to be creative and the problem solving process can be really inspiring.
Solar is the norm for our students
Solar power isn’t new technology and it’s becoming much more accessible. Now we have a working example to show our community that solar power is possible here in rural New Brunswick. Our students’ families are wondering how they can bring it to their own homes. Solar is the norm for our students, and I’m hoping they grow up implementing and improving on this amazing technology.
The Knowlesville Art and Nature Centre is a community hub located 100 kilometres NW of Fredericton, NB. Housed in a community just shy of 100 people, the Centre is an inspiration for sustainable living by running on 100% renewable energy. In 2015, the bullfrogpowered community helped fund solar panels for the Centre’s roof.