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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA

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Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA
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GordonH2O



Registered: September 2010
City/Town/Province: Harrisonburg
Posts: 1
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Harrisonburg Used Oil Recycling Hispanic Outreach
During a recent visit to a local town hall to meet with my congressman's representative, I noticed that the EPA's used motor oil recycling brochures were available only in English despite the fact that Harrisonburg has the highest English as a second language student population in Virginia and a similarly large proportion of ESL adults. Since the majority of these people are Spanish speaking, I decided to make these EPA documents available in Spanish. Further investigation at the EPA’s website revealed that not only does the EPA publish these brochures in Spanish, but the original purpose of the entire campaign was to inform Hispanic residents of the need for proper used motor oil disposal techniques. As the EPA's "You dump it, you drink it" web site noted, almost half of U.S. auto mechanics are Spanish speaking, and a high percentage of Hispanics change their own oil. Motivated by the irony of a Hispanic outreach brochure being available only in English in a community with one of the highest percentages of Spanish speakers in Virginia and by my own interest in the Spanish language, I ordered 250 Spanish language EPA brochures and made them available to Spanish speakers by distributing them through auto parts stores in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods. I feel strongly about the need to inform newcomers to my community about the dangers of surface dumping of motor oil due to the karst geology of the Shenandoah Valley that all but ensures that surface contaminants enter the ground water and due to my belief that recycling may not have been a common practice in their country of origin. I also used the information available at the EPA’s website and the website on waste disposal maintained by the City of Harrisonburg to develop an educational tabletop display on motor oil recycling in the City of Harrisonburg for use at Hispanic community events. Thus far, I have received an invitation to present my display at an upcoming local visit by the Mexican Consulate. The straightforward, self-explanatory message and robust construction of the display will allow further exposure through long term displays at churches, libraries or community centers. Given that the EPA’s own data contend that the waste from a single oil change can contaminate one million gallons of ground water, I will not have to generate many converts to recycling to have a positive impact on a huge quantity of local ground water.
· Date: September 22, 2010 · Views: 2695 · File size: 55.7kb, 144.0kb · : 1312 x 1598 ·
Hours Volunteered: 30
Volunteers: 1
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 100
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