Commonwealth Journal

Local News

April 19, 2014

Science Hill elementary students promote recycling

Somerset — For one group of Science Hill Independent students, taking out the trash isn’t something they avoid.

In fact, they love it, and there are two reasons behind it.

“I like to recycle because I get to do it with friends,” said third-grader Elizabeth Dalton, 9.

“I get to be a responsible citizen,” added Kyndal Butcher, 9, also a third-grader.

Dalton, Butcher, and a group of fellow third-graders (and a few fourth graders) have made it their mission this school year to bring recycling to the forefront of everyone’s minds at Science Hill Independent School.

The teachers’ classrooms already all contain recycling bins, and several recycling bins are placed strategically through the building.

But the young students decided that a little more could be done.

It wasn’t long into the 2013-2014 school year when Sandi Dick, the school’s family resource and youth service center coordinator, was approached by a few students. The students asked if they could help encourage recycling in the school by emptying out the bins themselves — and thus making the process more convenient for teachers and students.

“Their motivation has not waned any,” said Dick. “It is just as strong today as when they first started.”

Third-grade student Callie Eastham, 9, explained how the core group of recyclers grew.

“It started out with two, then we had three, then four, then five ...” she said.

The students were getting noticed. Their friends decided to join in.

“We just followed them,” said Dalton, who jumped on board soon after the effort began.

Dick said as the group grew, so did their passion for recycling.

“When they started collecting, they started buddying up on teams,” said Dick.

And the students haven’t shied away from the big job. Dick said they make sure to be at school early on the mornings they have to empty the bins.

“When they go out (to empty the bins), they’re so excited,” said Dick.

That’s because chores are definitely more fun when you get to do them with your friends.

“To me, it’s really fun,” said third-grade student Parker Lonesky, 8. “ ... It’s fun seeing how many people like to do it.”

And there’s another reason behind the students’ effort.

“I like to recycle because it saves trees from getting cut down,” said third-grader Katie Brown, 8.

“Our environment is clean,” added Eastham.

Dick was so impressed with the students’ effort that she contacted PRIDE — Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment — an initiative in southeastern Kentucky that promotes environmental sustainability. Dick said she received word that the recycling project would soon be honored as a “Project of the Month.”

The honor is well-deserved, according to Dick.

“Since they have been recycling, I will tell you more teachers, more students have been recycling,” said Dick.

The students who undertook the effort made sure to provide some motivation to teachers and students.

“We would tell them ‘You got to recycle, you got to recycle, you got to recycle,’” said Eastham.

The students don’t show any signs of slowing down.

“We’re going to keep this going,” said Dalton.

With most of the group just 8 and 9 years old, they have plenty of time to keep their effort moving forward at Science Hill School.

“They’re doing it themselves, and they’re having a wonderful time,” said Dick.

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