Shelby Haughey, Moffat County High School sophomore, stoops to collect a piece of trash Tuesday afternoon on East Victory Way. Haughey and other high school science students picked up waste around Craig in honor of Earth Day, an annual event promoting environmental awareness.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Shelby Haughey, Moffat County High School sophomore, stoops to collect a piece of trash Tuesday afternoon on East Victory Way. Haughey and other high school science students picked up waste around Craig in honor of Earth Day, an annual event promoting environmental awareness.

Waste no more

Students collect trash, recyclables in honor of Earth Day

— A car hood.

An antelope head.

And an assortment of toys, golf balls and fast food wrappers.

These are a sampling of what Moffat County High School biology, chemistry and integrated science students collected Tuesday, science teacher Amber Clark said.

Students collected about a ton of trash on and near high school grounds.

And that's before they donned orange plastic vests to help clean up a stretch of East Victory Way that afternoon.

Earth Day, an international event that raises environmental awareness, was the reason behind the students' labor.

The students received participation points from their classes for their work.

Still, added class credit wasn't junior Mike Peters' primary reason for participating.

His motivation was "to improve the city," he said, "and treat it with more respect."

Peters and his classmates weren't alone.

Inside the school building, members of the high school's Tolerance Group were wrapping up a recycling drive.

The group, which has about 15 members, set up two bins for collecting plastic containers.

"I think it's great," said Carroll Moore, the group's adviser. "I wish we had more activities of that kind (involving) kids doing something to make the school environment better."

At first glance, collecting recyclables may not seem consistent with the Tolerance Group's purpose. The student organization formed this school year with the primary goal to dissolve barriers between student social groups.

The group still is forming its identity, Moore said.

And, when group member Tanya Rinehart suggested the group host a recycling program for Earth Day, Moore didn't raise opposition.

"They just wanted to do something that would be useful," she said.

Luke Schafer, Colorado Environmental Coalition northwest campaign coordinator, said he wishes more young adults would do the same.

The first step, he said, is getting those youths outdoors.

"I think one of the great difficulties is recruiting youth : more involved, not just in conservation but just getting outside," he said.

"We've gone from a more rural to urbanized society (and) kids are less aware of the natural world and the natural process that makes the world go round," Schafer said.

Roger Spears, a high school science teacher, hopes to help change that trend.

"We definitely see some kids who are really into it (and) who like being outside," he said as he watched his science students make their way down Victory Way.

In coming days, his students will analyze the garbage they collected and determine what pieces of waste can be recycled or reused.

"Hopefully, it will make kids more aware of where trash comes from," he said.

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