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Cherry Valley students study recycling

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POLSON — “What does recycle mean?” Joyce Crosby asked her class of first-graders at Cherry Valley School.

One young lady said recycling means taking garbage and making compost. 

“That’s right,” Crosby said, "You take your egg shells, banana peels … basically they rot down and improve the soil.”

Sean said recycling also meant reusing things, and Andy added that recyclables could make playgrounds. Explaining Andy’s comment, Crosby described the rubberized chips found on some playgrounds.

Then the discussion veered onto triangles with numbers in them on the bottom of plastic bottles, milk jugs and bakery containers. Crosby produced a black plastic bag of recyclables and passed them out to the students. Kids were locating triangles as Crosby asked them if they found a one or a two, the only plastics than can be recycled locally. Then students’ names were called by Anna Barrows, Crosby’s student teacher. Kids grabbed their earth project and a paint shirt and went to their tables.

April 22 was the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and Crosby’s class had been talking about recycling, reducing and reusing all week after they read the book Our Class is Going Green, written by a group of Bartlesville, Okla., kindergartners.

Grass green paint, paintbrushes and photos of the earth taken from space awaited the youngsters. The day before the kids had painted two paper plates a vivid blue. Earth Day’s assignment was to paint the continents on the plates. After the “worlds” dried, they would be stapled together with streamers out the bottom. Each student would write items that can be recycled on his or her streamers. 

The reduce, reuse, recycle message seemed to have penetrated as one child told another to turn the water off after he washed his hands. 

“(Conserving water) is part of recycling,” he said. 

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