GLASGOW — A group of students at North Jackson Elementary stayed after school on Thursday to collect recycling bins from all of the classrooms, emptying them in the large recycling receptacle behind the school.
These students weren’t being punished – they are part of a club.
“The Green Team has been a club that has been at North Jackson since we opened,” NJE kindergarten teacher Shana McMurtrey said. “I’ve been a sponsor every year.”
McMurtrey said the club is for grades 2-6 and “we do our school’s recycling.” She said she thinks this year’s group is bigger than ever.
“We have around 40 members,” she said. “So we split them into two teams and we meet every other Thursday. So each team gets to recycle once-a-month.”
McMurtrey added that they also have energy checkers who walk around the school once-a-week.
“They have a checklist and they go monitor energy efficiency,” she said. “They will check and see, are we leaving lights on? Are we leaving projectors on? Lamps on? Things like that.”
Students develop a sense of pride and ownership in the school, McMurtrey said.
“They’re taking care of their school,” she said. “I think it makes them aware of the need to recycle. It makes them aware of what things can be recycled and what things can’t be recycled.
“Some people don’t realize all the things that can be recycled.”
McMurtrey added that they don’t recycle glass because of safety concerns.
“I think we’re creating leaders,” she said. “And the next generation is going to be maybe more willing or more aware. So it’s going to carry over, I hope. Leave a legacy.
“I think that in today’s society, recycling is not just a nice suggestion. It’s something that has to be done.”
McMurtrey said recycling is all about “sustainability.”
“I think we cannot, as a society, keep going with the idea that everything’s disposable and it doesn’t matter,” she said. “Because it is affecting, not just our generation, but it’s going to affect the next generation and the next generation.
“I think recycling is a way to affect future generations as well as our current.”
McMurtrey said it is really neat to see the kids take charge, “especially some of the older kids.”
“They are leaders and it’s neat to watch them be in charge of some of their younger peers and take over,” she said. “And they’re proud of what they do.”
NJE sixth-grader Brayden Wheat, who has been part of the Green Team for five years, said it “feels pretty good to do it because you’re helping everybody.”
“It helps out,” he said. “It all pays off when you get done.”
Wheat said he likes setting a good example for the younger students.
“I just think it’s really important because it’s helping the earth,” he said. “And that’s where you live, so you want to help it out.”
NJE sixth-grader Dax Button, who has been part of the Green Team for six years, said he likes “helping out and recycling and making the earth a better place.”
“It feels good to help out,” he said, adding that he enjoys being a role model and showing the younger students what to do. “We just have fun and recycle and enjoy the time we spend with our friends.”