PGMS EAST Program Prospers Because of Litter Pickup


PGMS EAST Program Prospers Because of Litter Pickup
8/15/2013 4:57:12 PM

Prairie Grove Middle School received a $1,500 grant from the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Foundation because of their initiative to keep their campus litter free.

Jack Singleton, creator and lead educator for the Litter Free Zone program, recently offered grant opportunities, funded by Wal-Mart, to area schools for controlling litter and debris on their school grounds. Prairie Grove Middle School participated in the program, selecting two representatives from each grade (5th-8th) to be on a Litter Scene Investigator Leadership Team along with selected teachers, administrators, business leaders, and local waste management personnel. All met for a six-hour training session to learn about litter and how to control it on the school campus.

During the training session the Leadership team designated a particular area of the school grounds and measured to get the square footage of the area. After measurements were compiled, the team identified every piece of litter in that area by placing an orange or pink flag in the ground to mark it. The team scoured the entire area, placing flags everywhere they spotted litter. When they were done, they were amazed by how many flags they saw sticking up out of the ground. This visual representation of just how much litter appeared on their campus was very eye-opening, and they wanted to share it with the entire student body. So during a six-week period, the LSI (Litter Scene Investigator) Leadership Team showed all students (one grade at a time) how to conduct a litter scene investigation in their pre-designated area of the campus.

Students conducted their investigations, placed all recyclable items in their correct recycle bins, documented how many litter items were found and calculated how many items were found per square yard. The average number of litter items per square yard on our campus, through eight litter scene investigations, was 4.2! This means that on average, for every square yard of our campus, 4.2 pieces of litter were found.

After making the litter issue known to the entire student body, teachers and administrators, the student leadership team then held a school-wide assembly to showcase their findings and offer solutions to the growing litter problem on the campus. “The litter does not stop on our campus,” Zeke L. , member of the LSI Leadership Team said in a recent interview. “We have a row of houses right by our school campus and all the litter we throw on the ground makes its way into their front yards because of animals and the wind.” “It is up to us to keep our school clean and to make our neighbors happy,” he continued. “And that is why we are here, so we can make a difference.”

At the school-wide assembly, Jack Singleton and volunteer Cindy Cope presented the school with a grant award in the amount of $1,500 so the LSI Leadership Team can purchase new recycling equipment, more LSI supplies, items for campus beautification, an outdoor classroom, a rain garden or a butterfly garden. LSI leadership team members will meet in a few weeks to brainstorm and decide exactly how the grant money will be spent. They are proud of what they achieved with this project… not because of the grant award or the recognition, but because they are teaching others how to better take care of the environment around them.




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