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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Signal Mountain Middle/High School, Signal Mountain, Tennessee, USA

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Signal Mountain Middle/High School, Signal Mountain, Tennessee, USA
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Registered: December 2011
City/Town/Province: Signal Mountain
Posts: 1
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Have you ever imagined yourself living in a landfill? It is amazing the amount of trash that one school of 1100 people can create in a single day. Even though I am just a teenager, I found a way to help. Here is my story:
My name is Karla and I am from Venezuela and I moved to the United States when I was 12 years old to learn a new culture, make new friends and--most importantly of all-- to learn a new language. However, when we first moved here, the last thing I imagined was that I would discover a passion for recycling. When I was 14 years old, my family and I moved to a very small town that had a brand new middle school and high school where I met my mentor, Brandi Buntain, who shared the same passion for recycling that I did.
As I became a part of the new school and became used to the changes, I noticed the amount of recyclable goods that were all over the school and were going directly into the trash cans and therefore destined to languish in a landfill. There were unbelievable volumes of cardboard (from computer boxes, for example), large amounts of paper (just from the beginning of school) and crazy amounts of water bottles and Styrofoam plates produced by the cafeteria every day.
In our school we are encouraged to accomplish a certain amount of community service every year and we are always looking for new and creative ways to make a difference in our community.
For my project, I decided to form a Recycling Club at my school. My project is being conducted at Signal Mountain Middle/High School. I started the project in September 2009. The club started out small with about ten people. We were allowed to have meetings during the school day and therefore we would meet every day for twenty minutes. We would empty the recycling bins around the school, and then my family and I would take the bags home, sort through them, and transport the separate materials to the recycling center.
I am pleased to say that since 2009 a lot of things have changed for the good; when we began the club, we set a goal for ourselves to increase the amount of materials that were being recycled. To do this we had to focus on three things-- raising awareness, getting new members, and getting more recycling bins.
We raised awareness by serving as examples of ecologically responsible citizens and by talking to our friends about the club and the project, and as our numbers grew, the awareness of our effort grew. To get new members, every one of the current members proposed to themselves to bring at least two new friends to join the club, and that way we were able to more than double our numbers. We were lucky enough to have local groups that support our recycling effort, and after talking to various organizations, who generously donated, we have met our goal of having a recycling bin in every classroom.
In August, 2011 the club was no longer allowed to meet during school hours, so picking up the recycling bins became a little more complicated, but after three months of preparation we finally obtained permission to meet every week before school.
Now that we have more time during our meetings, we do fun projects to learn about the importance of recycling, get motivated to do environmentally friendly activities and help take care of our planet. We do things like creating environmentally friendly household cleaners to take home to our parents, and we bring our own reusable water bottles from home to reduce the amount of plastic produced by the cafeteria, or we do something as simple as decorating the recycling bins-- but it is not all fun and games. While we do have a lot of fun during our meetings, we understand what we are here to do. We still have to clean up all the bins once a week so my family and I can take them home, sort them, and take them to the recycling center.
As I do the hours of research I have to do to come up with ideas and learn new information to teach the kids in my club, I have learned the importance of recycling and I feel happy to be motivating future environmental leaders in my community. Even though I only have around thirty members in the club right now, the numbers keep increasing and awareness is being raised.
Date: December 31, 2011 Views: 6305 File size: 16.9kb, 120.9kb : 600 x 399
Hours Volunteered: 2160
Volunteers: 30
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 11 to 18
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