Students posed with Yolanda Ridge and a novelty cheque for $250 made out to the World Wildlife Foundation.

Rossland author pays Earth Day visit to Rossland Summit School

Yolanda Ridge asked local elementary students to help her make a donation for Earth Day.

A Rossland author asked local elementary students to help her make a donation for Earth Day.

Yolanda Ridge received a Creative Spark Art Starts in the Class CBT Grant to give an artist talk at Rossland Summit School last Thursday, but because her appearance was so close to Earth Day she decided to donate the proceeds to an environmental cause and let the students choose which organization would receive the funds.

Cyndi Smith’s Grade 4 and 5 students had a chance to research the West Kootenay Eco-society, David Suzuki Foundation and World Wildlife Fund before voting between the three, and were ready to inform Ridge of their choice by the time she arrived in their classroom last week.

The students chose the World Wildlife Foundation by a wide margin, and at the event of the visit Ridge made out a large novelty cheque for $250 to the WWF. The cheque bore the logo of Authors for Earth Day of which Ridge has been a member for the past five years.

“I’ve done that before. When a school can pay me, I donate the fees,” she said. “But lately schools have not had a lot of money to pay author fees or appearance fees for authors, so I haven’t been able to do this for the last couple of years. But when I got this grant, the school didn’t have to pay for me to be here, the grant was paying for me to be here, so I saw the opportunity to fulfill my commitment to Authors for Earth Day.”

Ridge gave a presentation to the class on “The Magic of Three” and how she used it to help her write her three books for young readers.

Students had the chance to ask Ridge about her writing process and what went into getting her books published, and also asked questions about and shared their own writing.

“I love that they want to share so much of their own writing with me and that they’re so interested in the process,” said Ridge.

She’ll be giving a similar, but longer, presentation at the Young Authors Conference in Kamloops on May 5.

“I’ll do three hour-and-a-half workshops with different groups kids and it’s great because they’re all kids that have been selected from a writing sample. Really motivated writers,” explained Ridge.