Bellingham students hunt for litter around school for Earth Day

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDApril 22, 2014 

BELLINGHAM - It was Easter all over again for fourth-graders at Carl Cozier Elementary School Tuesday, April 22.

But instead of bright plastic eggs full of candy, students searched the area around the school for trash as part of an Earth Day litter pick-up.

Students broke up into groups led by teachers and volunteers and headed into the streets around the school, 1330 Lincoln St., to collect trash using tongs, trash grabbers and rubber gloves. They rushed to snap up cups, cans, wrappers and even a pair of discarded sandals, gloating over their finds.

"It's kind of like an Easter egg hunt, I guess, but with trash," Madisun Larkin said.

They returned to the school with bags full of trash. Alex Wentz, a green classroom coordinator for RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, talked to the students about littering and the importance of recycling. She poured out bags full of papers, cans, bottles and other debris, and separated items into bins for trash, compost and recycling to show students what's in the litter around their school.

Students were surprised how much garbage they found.

"The truth is, there's a lot more garbage than you would think," student Andie Rankin said.

Andie liked finding the hard-to-get trash: plastic bottles lodged into storm drains and cups tucked away among blackberry bushes.

"Some people are grossed out by this kind of stuff," she said. "But it's really fun."

The students said they liked being able to get outside and do something good for the planet. It might seem like a small effort, Ethan Riggs said, but it really adds up.

"Look at all of what we collected," Ethan marveled. "I never thought I'd see this much trash unless I went to a dump, and this was just out on the street."

Reach Zoe Fraley at 360-756-2803 or zoe.fraley@bellinghamherald.com.

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