Going green
Students learn about recycling, beautification

COVINGTON - This school year, Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful hopes to get more students, their parents and community members thinking about recycling, beautification and waste reduction.

KCNB has a variety of programs that get students of all ages to think more about ways to improve their community's environment and maybe influence the adults around them.

In addition to helping implement more recycling programs in the public schools this year, KCNB continues to hold puppet shows in the elementary schools and learning labs in their offices off Lower River Road or in the classrooms.

The program held its first learning lab of the school year Monday morning in the KCNB building for seventh- and eighth-grade students from the Montessori School of Covington.

During the two-hour lab, students played a multiple-choice computer game that quizzed them on recycling, and then KCNB officials presented an assortment of labs - making a compost pile, identifying and discarding household hazardous waste, recycling, water pollution and information about landfills.

In the labs, led by KCNB Executive Director Connie Waller, Program Educational Specialist Laurie Riley and volunteer Elaine Ellis, students participated in various hands-on activities like making their own piece of recycled paper and an edible landfill and illustrated a polluted neighborhood lake.

Afterwards, the students left the KCNB classroom to tour the recycling center, where they saw workers separating plastics and cardboard. Outside of the KCNB offices, they saw tall stacks of cardboard and plastic and bins full of newspaper and other paper that will be recycled, in addition to viewing parts of the landfill.

Riley also told the students about various KCNB recycling programs and events throughout the year and gave them tips on how they can be "green" at home.

"Only 1 percent of water on earth can be used for drinking water, so it's very important for us to use our water wisely," Riley told the students during the lab on water pollution.

"The more you recycle, the more you keep out of the landfills," Ellis said in the recycling part of the lab. "It leaves more room for parks and other things like that."

Waller said she hopes the students will take what they learn in the lab back to their schools and home to their parents.

The Montessori School students' teacher Sara Vinson said that won't be a problem.

"We do this at the beginning of the year because we want to start the year off on the right foot," she said.

Each year the Montessori students have participated in the lab, Vinson said her students pay attention in the lab and share with their school and families.

"We really use this all throughout the school year," she said.

The Montessori School is a waste-free school with its own garden and compost pile that has its students participate in community service projects like litter pick up. Last year, students also collected water at home and discussed water conservation methods that many still use today, even though local drought conditions have improved.

One day at the school this year, students will analyze their lunches, and by the end of the year they plan for a waste-free lunch. KCNB also gave the students a recycling wheel for their classrooms so they can see how they can recycle most products.

"We are so fortunate to have this (learning lab) program because now it's not just me standing up (in front of the class) telling (the students)," she said. "It's not just my campaign; it's a community campaign."

KCNB holds learning labs and puppet shows throughout the school year.

Teachers who would like to register their students for a puppet show featuring Detective Seymore Green or enroll them in a learning lab at the KCNB offices or at the school, should call the organization at 770-784-2015 or e-mail newtonclean@co.newton.ga.us. More information about KCNB is available through www.co.newton.ga.us.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.