$500 – Recycling Education Programs for Elementary Students
After calling Iris Saxer, Executive Director for Teton Valley Community Recycling, in for additional questions, participating Youth Philanthropy students understood the value in Teton Valley Community Recycling’s proposal to provide waste reduction/recycling education programs for all valley 4th and 5th graders.
Teton Valley Community Recycling plans to develop and implement a curriculum specific to our region, teach two 1.5 hour sessions in every classroom, and offer field trips to the County Recycling Center to give students a clear and simple way to improve our community.
Recycling is currently in dire straits nationwide and Teton Valley struggles with high contamination rates and apathy in terms of recycling participation. TVCR plans to work with elementary students to get them educated and energized about the importance of source reduction of waste, proper recycling, and composting – tapping into the current level of passion (or in some cases hopelessness) of today’s youth about climate and environmental issues.
A hands-on program both in the classroom and at the County Transfer Station, where students can see first-hand the amount of waste that is produced and how it is processed for reuse or for landfilling, is an important part of any grade school education. TVCR wants to give students tangible ways that they can make a difference in their homes, their school, and their community. Waste reduction is easy, but people need awareness of the scope of the problem and they need concrete, simple solutions. TVCR plans to provide awareness and empower students to act locally.
While recycling should be a pretty simple process, it is actually quite complex and even many adults are confused. This leads to people contaminating the recycling, feeling frustrated by the system, or just opting out of an important duty. Once people understand the “whys”, they make fewer mistakes and the whole system works better. Many parents are too busy or too set in their ways to pay attention to recent changes and sorting requirements. By encouraging 4th-grade students to lead the charge in their schools and in their homes, TVCR anticipates a marked improvement in household waste management and understanding of proper recycling methods, which in turn will benefit all county residents in the form of reducing fees paid for waste processing.
Being knowledgable about local issues and being a part of the solution is an incredibly powerful thing for young students who are just establishing their role in the community. Participating seniors fully funded this grant in recognition that this program offers the opportunity for education, empowerment, and momentum for students and Teton Valley at large.