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Conservation Corner - Cedar Key School and the three Rs

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Promoting Energy Awareness, Conservation and Sustainability

By The Staff

Although you might think “reading, ’riting and ’rithemtic” when you consider the 3 Rs in an educational context, instead think of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Our teachers have incorporated the 3 Rs in their curriculums. Our custodians have embraced recycling whenever possible. And our administration has endorsed it all.

This positive attitude for the 3 Rs made it possible for the Energy Advisory Panel (EAP) to make a presentation to the teaching staff last week with the blessings of the school principal, Sue Ice. The informative hand-out, prepared by EAP member Molly Cowart and presented to our teachers, displayed a listing of recycling and green initiative websites as a teaching resource, teaching ideas such as a field trip to the transfer station, proposed contests, awards and scholarships and most importantly a school-wide recycling program. The EAP in particular wanted the school to know that they and dedicated community members were there to help wherever needed to help insure that Energy Awareness, Conservation and Sustainability were included in our children’s education.

The school’s custodians have already been setting aside recyclables such as cardboard and tin cans from the cafeteria and plastic and aluminum from a few classrooms, for pick-up by EAP volunteers. Since the EAP presentation, the school staff has requested a dozen recycling containers to be placed throughout the school so that ALL recyclables will be “captured” for recycling rather than mindlessly tossed into the trash.

With all this recycling momentum happening with the school’s staff, we wondered what the students felt, so we asked them. All students interviewed from first to ninth grades do recycle, felt it was important for everyone to recycle, and had good suggestions as to where recycling containers should go in their school.

Their reasons for recycling were varied. First-grader Riley recognized that without recycling our earth will be nothing but trash. Miranda, a ninth-grader, is concerned about items that could be recycled ending up in our waterways, threatening or killing wildlife. In addition she felt that the toxins emitted from burning our trash as well as our landfills were just plain gross!

When asked about the 3 Rs, these students were all in the know about recycling and reusing but when it came to reducing, some were at a loss. But seventh-grade Jemima summed it up in two words: Buy less! Mikayla and Phoebe, seventh- and sixth-graders, respectively, not only thought of reducing in terms of buying products with less packaging but also reducing the amount of water and electricity we use, citing conservation methods for both.

Fun ideas for school recycling projects flowed out of these students with quizzes, sculptures, posters and “most-creative” contests, all culminating with a party and recognition to appropriate classes, students or staff members. Lastly, with thoughts of a recycling mascot and slogan, no one quite stated it better than fifth-grader John with his “Recycle Man” and “Be Kind to Our Planet”, a slogan we can all understand.

If you are interested in helping our school and the EAP with the recycling program for the 2009-10 school year please contract Eileen Bowers at eileenlbowers@yahoo.com.