Recycling combines teaching and business

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:23

    WESTFALL - Reducing the school’s waste-flow and protecting the Earth’s environment are just two of the many benefits resulting from the Delaware Valley High School’s recycling program. The program began earlier this school year when Social Studies Teacher Rosann Henigan started a recycling program with her students after learning of the idea from a similar program in the Delaware Valley Middle School. “I wanted something for my kids that would give them a diversion from everyday classroom activities, but still be a learning experience,” Henigan stated. The new recycling program accomplishes both of these, according to Henigan. She went on to say, “it teaches responsibility and allows the students to see the wastefulness that happens.” Originally, the recycling program was limited to the 11/12 area of the high school, but it soon expanded to cover the 9/10 side following requests by faculty who liked the idea. With the Delaware Valley Elementary School in its preliminary stages, the architects of the program intend to see it expand to other schools in the district. All aspects of the recycling project in the high school are handled by Henigan’s Concepts of Geography class. Green bins were placed in each classroom for gathering the recyclables; these bins were provided by a program co-sponsored by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Education. The class designed a color-coded map in order to efficiently handle collection, which takes place at least once a week. The paper, cardboard, and newspaper that are collected from all the classrooms get dumped into one of eight large receptacles Pike County secured through grant funding. Henigan ties geographical study to environmental study using the initiative which also serves as an example for the class to analyze the economics involved. She pointed out that her students are starting to plan new ways to expand the program, and helping teachers reduce their consumption of paper by providing alternative methods. For instance, the kids convinced the music department to e-mail certain texts rather then printing them out. “It was a learning process,” Henigan commented. Karsi Grego, a former Delaware Valley Middle School teacher, founded the program in 2002 with her gifted class. Ms. Grego has since left, but the program was inherited by her successor, Danielle Free. Free emphasized that the program does not cost the district a penny and actually saves money. In addition to the green bins and receptacles, the removal of the recycled materials is free of charge to the district. As Free pointed out, the immense amount of paper being recycled no longer exists in the waste-flow of the school, which will eventually result in a reduction of garbage removal costs. On the other hand, the value of the lessons being taught to the students as well as the rest of the school cannot be quantified, and in these teachers’ eyes, is priceless. Free added that their goal is to “develop a sense of caring about the environment and encourage participation in recycling.” Both Henigan and Free expressed their hope to set an example in the community and raise awareness among its citizens. So if they are doing their job well, you know exactly what to do with this newspaper after you are finished reading it.