Registered: March 2009
City/Town/Province: Rio Rico
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My name is Victoria and I am a senior at Rio Rico High School in Rio Rico, Arizona. In Rio Rico we have beautiful wildlife consisting of our native javelina, road runners, jack rabbits, hummingbirds, hawks, coyote, prickly pear and golden barrel cactus, mesquite trees, ocotillo, and so much more. Weíre rich in beautiful animals and landscape, but poor in knowledge of how to preserve and protect it. I came up with a small idea to start a recycling program at my high school. Lucky for me there is a landfill near my school that offers a place to put recyclables. I couldnít imagine how we hadnít already been recycling when we had the opportunity literally just down the road. That is when I realized that what I really needed to do to make an impact was not only to recycle at my high school, but to recycle at all of the schools in my district in hopes that in educating the students, they would in turn educate their families. Soon enough my entire school district started recycling. I was so excited but I knew that this was only the beginning.
At my school I created a recycling club and with the help of my members we made posters to put around our cafeteria to explain how exactly to recycle and what recycling is. Currently my club is going to festivals in our local area to teach the people of our county how recycling benefits not only the world, but themselves. In our presentation we explain how recycling helps one save money by reusing certain things and what one can buy to preserve more energy or to buy products that are recyclable. We came up with a game to teach the elementary school students what to recycle and how. Itís a relay race where two teams have to run and pick up a piece of scattered familiar day-to-day items (such as water bottles, newspapers, cardboard, etc.) and either throw them into the recycling bin, trash, or separate the glass. We also have our very own mascot, Recycle Man, who tells the children how they can recycle at home and get their families involved. During my high schoolís annual Spring Fling, my club sold reusable bags and allowed people to paint their own designs on them to use for grocery shopping. It was a huge success! We sold every one of the 100 reusable bags we purchased to sell. At the end of the year we hope to raise enough money to buy some trees to plant in our community.
I have also devised a plan more recently to switch my high schoolís Styrofoam lunch trays to a recyclable more decomposable material. The Apprentice Ecologist Initiative is truly an exceptional program. To encourage kids to get out there and help preserve our Earth and all of its inhabitants is such a necessary but rarely enforced or supported idea. At least in my own life I have been so enriched by the experiences and knowledge Iíve gained. Helping the world even in the tiny town of Rio Rico in southern Arizona has given me strength and pride. I can not think of a better way to help the world in such a way that will be ongoing and truly beautiful. It is extremely important to be an active steward of the environment both now and even more so in the future. Every day we pollute this beautiful earth, and for all that it gives us we should be more that willing to give back. Do we want our children or are childrenís children to suffer from the consequences resulting in what we could have done for this world but didnít? Even the small things like using a reusable bag for your groceries alone will make an impact. I believe that even these small activities and projects I and my club members have thought up will make a big difference in the lives of the people of my community, the wildlife, and in my local environment... maybe even further.