By Gwen Walsh
Five Clarkies recently volunteered at the Woodland Street Academy to teach elementary school students about the three other R’s – reducing, reusing, and recycling. Shannon Choquette, Will Cutshall, Heather MacKenzie, Olivia McGill, and Rebecca Zilberstein are all employees of the Clark Recycling Center and joined this project after a teacher at the school asked Sustainability Coordinator, Jenny Isler, if any crew members would be interested in contributing to their water-cycle curriculum.
Together they developed an interactive lesson plan for the students. They started by showing students examples of waste from a bagged lunch, including a small snack bag, a glass bottle, and a plastic sandwich container, and discussed how each of these items illustrates an aspect of responsible waste management.
The snack bag shows “reduce” because individually-portioned items use more packaging than necessary; a glass bottle explains reuse because it can be utilized as a beverage container again and again; and the sandwich container is a recyclable item. They also discussed the importance of reducing the amount of waste which ends up in a landfill, which causes many problems with them.
Next, the crew guided the students through sorting a bag of clean trash and recyclables (plastic and glass bottles, aluminum cans, cardboard, and paper) and explained where each is stored in the Recycling Center.
Lastly, they encouraged the students to use their creativity to make signs that say “We Recycle” out of reused collage materials. The Clarkies answered questions during this arts and crafts activity.
The Woodland Street Academy students’ involvement in recycling education didn’t stop there. McGill said “The children are in the process of writing persuasive essays to their principal to convince the administration that Woodland Street Academy should be recycling. They are also in contact with ‘Green Team,’ which supplies schools with recycling materials.”
They also went on a short field trip to the Clark Recycling Center where the crew gave them a tour and explained the process more thoroughly.
The Clark Recycling Crew is a work-study position fulfilled by fourteen undergraduate students who are responsible for sorting and managing recycling on campus.