Darrington High School wins $1,000 from Department of Ecology for its recycling program

From left, Darrington High School junior Paden Newberry and Ecology Club faculty advisor Joe Eckerson show off one of the schools many recycle bins. -
From left, Darrington High School junior Paden Newberry and Ecology Club faculty advisor Joe Eckerson show off one of the schools many recycle bins.
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DARRINGTON Darrington High School received a $1,000 cash award from the Washington State Department of Ecology to continue and expand its recycling program.
Darrington High School was one of 17 public schools in the North Puget Sound Region and King County to earn this years Terry Husseman Awards, which recognize schools for their outstanding environmental programs, whether they develop and implement innovative curricula or start and sustain ongoing waste reduction efforts.
The Darrington High School Honor Society and Ecology Club began their recycling program approximately five months ago. They initially estimated that theyd reduced their garbage volume by one-fifth in that time, Darrington High School Ecology Club faculty advisor Joe Eckerson said their latest data shows theyve reduced it by at least a third, and possibly even half.
We have recycle bins in all out classrooms now, that get emptied out into a larger bin a couple of times each week, Eckerson said. None of that paper or plastic is going into landfills any longer and thats thanks to the students themselves. Theyre the ones who are collecting the recyclables, keeping the bins clean and decorating them, and making promotional posters and informational videos.
Eckerson explained that the students had taken a series of field trips, to recycling and composting facilities, as well as to landfills and waste centers. What they learned about those processes had a lasting impact on students such as Darrington High School junior Paden Newberry, who co-wrote an application for a Terry Husseman Seed Award with his classmate, Nick Olsen, to assist their school in covering the costs of starting up its recycling program.
We saw how all this garbage gets put into the ground, which shocked me, Newberry said. We were doing cleanup projects, but I almost wondered what the point was, if it was all just going to go back into the ground.
Newberry and Eckerson both credited local mother Lisa Lovell with providing suggestions and contributing to the coordination of the program. Eckerson cited the number of collection bins, carts and educational materials that can be purchased with the cash award, to augment the recycling program. Newberry expressed an interest in taking his environmental work further.
Im looking into getting a grant from Puget Sound Energy for solar power at our school, Newberry said. Its a renewable resource and even if it doesnt benefit our school as much, it could be a breakthrough that gets other schools to start similar programs.

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