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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Sanford, North Carolina, USA

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Sanford, North Carolina, USA


Registered: December 2016
City/Town/Province: Sanford
Posts: 1
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When I started the Environmental Science Club at my high school, I initially aimed to raise awareness about current environmental issues facing the town and to encourage others to educate themselves about the different branches of science. Over time, the club has expanded into an ever-evolving services organization that promotes the improvement of the environment and the importance of building relationships through service work.
I presented a proposal for the club to my principal and AP Environmental Science teacher during my junior year. Initially, the Environmental Science Club participated in projects on campus, such as creating a monthly newsletter highlighting environmental issues, helping with the school's recycling program, researching local environmental concerns such as fracking and water contamination, and encouraging recycling at the school.
As a continuation of our recycling program, I organized school-wide trash pick-up days to clean the ball fields and school grounds. During these days, all students-not just Environmental Science Club members-were encouraged to attend and assist in picking up trash and sorting recyclables. During the trash pick-up days, we averaged between 30 to 40 bags of trash and recyclables. More importantly, however, I noticed a trend in the garbage we were picking up. Near the football and soccer practice fields and the tennis courts, there were noticeably more recyclable bottles on the ground and in the stands. I knew that these areas are also used by our entire community for county-wide practices such as Pop Warner football, local community soccer programs and even middle school tennis leagues. This realization led to our next project which was to see how we could stop the litter and recycle this trash.
Throughout the fall sports season, I became increasingly aware of the exorbitant amount of trash, especially recyclables such as Gatorade and water bottles, that were left behind by the football teams and my own tennis team. Only a few teammates, parents, and coaches stayed behind after practices and games to clean up and take bags of trash to the dump on their on time. I brought this problem to the Environmental Science Club and it was unanimous that we had to do something about the problem.
I began to research different possibilities for recycle bins for these areas. Under guidance from my club advisor, we brainstormed possible options for fundraisers or outside funding from local businesses. Meanwhile, I researched potential styles of recycle bins and obtained quotes from various companies until I found a design and price that would be ideal for the school and was from an approved vendor. However, securing funding for the bins before the next spring sports season was still a necessity. Realizing that time was running out, I decided to ask the school's PTA to sponsor part of the funding. After obtaining permission from the advisor, principal and PTA president, the Environmental Science Club secretary and I attended a PTA meeting. At the beginning of the meeting, I outlined the problem of recyclable waste on the athletic fields and brought up our plan to buy the recycle bins before the next sports season. The PTA agreed to sponsor the price for three recycle bins and our Club accepted the responsibility for installing the bins and for maintaining and emptying the bins. After successfully obtaining funding, I presented the proposed design and cost to the school's bookkeeper and worked closely with her through the process of ordering the recycle bins. These are now on their way to our school! Then the rest of the project will begin. We will have to secure the bins to the ground and keep them furnished with bags. It will be the Club's job to empty the recyclables and sort out any trash. In this way, we will have an on-going impact on the school grounds and will encourage the younger students to continue to promote recycling and trash pick-up.
This project has taught me invaluable communication and organization skills as well as furthered my love for serving others. In my opinion, it is the most meaningful and lasting project that my Environmental Science Club has participated in. Through the recycle bins, I am able to give back to the school and benefit the condition of the school environment for future sports teams, parents, and coaches. The recycle bins will eliminate the hassle of staying after to clean up after games and will make the sports seasons more environmentally-friendly and enjoyable for years to come. Additionally, the recycling bin project serves as a reminder to me of the importance of making a goal and following it through to its completion, even if the goal seems far-fetched at the beginning. Setting this goal and working toward it together has helped us grow closer together as a club and has reminded us of the impact that we as teenagers can have on the community. Accomplishing this project has also helped raise awareness about the Environmental Science Club in my school and has encouraged an increase in membership. This has given me the confidence to take on community-wide projects to raise awareness about environmental science such as leading clean up days at local Thrift Shops, creating science worksheets for our high school Teacher Cadets to take and share with elementary students, and organizing an art contest for middle school students. Through the recycling bin project, I gained the courage and confidence to dream that the Environmental Science Club can continue to grow, expand and educate others about science, ecology and community service.
Date: December 24, 2016 Views: 1628 File size: 37.6kb : 350 x 263
Hours Volunteered: 45
Volunteers: 12
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 16 to 18
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 2
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