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Manchester schools seek to hold ‘Trash on the Lawn Day’

New Hampshire Union Leader

June 10. 2013 12:55AM

MANCHESTER — The Board of School Committee is expected to hear details of a new pilot program being proposed for three local schools, which involves dumping a day’s worth of trash on a school lawn — and its been recommended for approval.

The Trash On the Lawn Day event is just one aspect of the Northeast Resource Recover Association (NRRA) pilot recycling program proposed for the 2013-2014 school year at the Beech Street Elementary School, Hillside Middle School, and Central High School.

The program appears on the agenda of tonight’s meeting of the Board of School Committee, scheduled to get underway at 7 p.m. at 1 City Hall Plaza. The pilot program is being recommended for approval by the city’s Building and Sites Committee, which heard a presentation from NRRA representatives last month.

“The hope is to raise the awareness among students of the importance of recycling, while helping to work recycling education into the curriculum,” said Caitlin Meaney, Programs Director for the NRRA’s School Recycling division.

The three schools were chosen because NRRA had already completed some analysis of recycling data at Beech and Hillside. Central is in the same zone as those two schools.

“We wanted to pilot the program at the elementary, middle and high school levels, so they were a good fit,” said Meaney.

The program includes four components — collection, evaluation, education and motivation. Recycling bins and appropriate signage would be placed in classrooms, offices, lounges, gyms and cafeterias at the schools. Efforts will be made to make recycling dumpsters stand out from trash dumpsters.

Faculty members will be asked to evaluate all aspects of the program they are involved in, and create surveys for different grade levels to gauge their knowledge of recycling. Staff educators will also be asked to work in discussions on “Going Green,” recycling and environmental education into science, math and art curriculums. The three schools will also be encouraged to hold events such as Earth Day or America Recycles Day.

Meaney said one of the most visual aspects of the program is the Trash On the Lawn Day, where a day’s worth of trash is placed on tarps on the lawn of a school.

“It really helps students visualize just how much trash is generated at their school,” said Meaney. “It will be sorted, and they can see how much is being recycled, and more importantly how much isn’t.”

Meaney said a Lawn Day will take place at Central in the fall, followed by a second one in the spring.

“The idea is to give students a chance to see how they’ve helped reduce the amount of trash over the school year.”

The total cost of the pilot program is $10,000, and covered in full by grants received from the organization NH the Beautiful.

“The funding for the pilot program has already been secured,” said Meaney. “If it goes well, in a few years we’d like to expand it across the district, but that would be subject to additional funding.”

If approved, the Board of School Committee is expected to reserve the right to leave the program at any time it deems appropriate.

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