Kirsten Mustain

Grove Sun

Students at the Lower Elementary are putting their science curriculum to practical use this year with a new recycling program that is open to the public.

Lower Elementary science teacher Terry Cash, who won this year’s Shining Star Award from the Grove Excellence Foundation for Education (GEFFE) for the grant she wrote to start the program, said the students had inspired her to start the program.

“These kids want to make a difference and they are passionate about it,” she said. “They love the earth and they want it to last.”

Cash started teaching recycling as part of the “Three R’s” program (reduce, reuse and recycle) last year.

“I was blown away by how eager the students were to learn about helping the earth,” she said. “And I recognized that this was something important I need to teach every year.”

So Cash wrote a grant and GEFFE came through with the funds to purchase recycling barrels for inside the school, videos, books, stickers and numerous other teaching aids to enhance the lessons.

Cash said they had been working with Wal-Mart to recycle bottles and plastic bags, but she and the students wanted to do more.

“We started working with Friendship House in Jay,” she explained. “They built us outside bins for lots of different recyclables.”

The bins, located between the Lower Elementary and the Early Childhood Center on ? street, are open to the public and area residents are encouraged to bring their cardboard, cans, bottles and various other recyclables to the site.

Friendship House picks up the recycling every Friday.

Cash noted that she is also teaching the students about renewable and non-renewable energy.

“And we have been talking about the dangers of coal and oil,” she added. “Both of those dangers have been prominent in the news lately.”

Cash said that the students understand that we need to start developing alternatives like wind and solar to keep the environment clean and to keep people safe.

“I’m really pumped about this program,” Cash said. “If we don’t start caring, it will be too late.”