School News You Can Use – February, 2016
Remember Where We Were in December?
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
- Conference News – Call for Award Nominations
- CLUB News – Bethel Elementary Expresses Thanks
- In The News – Artist or Pitcher? Depends on the season!
- Contests, Scholarships & Fundraisers
- EPA & NHDES News – EPA supports cleaner school buses.
- Activity – Snow Day Bingo
- Green Calendar
WANTED: Your Award Nominations for the 7th Annual School Recycling Conference
This year’s Conference theme is “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” Despite the challenges, we know there are teachers, students and staff who are fighting to stay green.
Does your school have an individual, program or event that deserves special recognition for outstanding work in recycling? These are just some of the award categories to be considered:
Choose one of the above, or come up with your own category.
Winners will be announced and recognized at our Conference Awards Luncheon on May 17.
Please follow this link to the nomination form. Deadline for nominations is March 18, 2016.
2016 Conference Details
SAVE THE DATE & COME TO THE CASTLE !
May 17, 2016
NRRA’S 35TH EMERALD ANNIVERSARY CONFERENCE & EXPO
May 16 and 17, 2016! NRRA announces it 35th Anniversary Emerald Jubilee Conference …..“It’s Not Easy Being GREEN!!” We are moving south from Manchester to Nashua, NH. The Castle is rolling out the emerald carpet for this very special, first in the nation conference and exposition. Stay tuned, as we ramp up even earlier than usual with workshop proposals and exhibit opportunities that cannot be missed. Once we go live for registration I encourage all to sign up early to take advantage of the Early …Early Bird Discounts and the Special Value Package. The line-up for next spring will include Nationally Recognized Experts in this ever changing field and as usual, NRRA will be leading the way with the most up to date and cutting edge information you can use. You won’t want to miss this historic event.
The School CLUB will host our 7th Annual Conference on Tuesday, May 17. By offering this annual event in May, we hope more students and teachers will be able to attend. If there are specific workshops you would like to see, please let me know. We are already planning a number of activities, games, scavenger hunt and surprises to make this a memorable event. Watch for details in future newsletters but mark your calendars now!
A Hint of What’s to Come (Tentative Workshops):
- Using Textiles as a Fundraiser
- School Recycling in NH
- The ABC’s of School Recycling in ME
- Train the Trainer – Recycling Education Tied to Common Core
- Household Hazardous Waste & Toxics
- Diversion in Schools: What Makes Sense?
Also, we have some great activities planned. Watch for further information in the next issue!
Here’s the link to our Conference Registration Form.
Bethel Elementary Expresses Thanks
Thanks to funding from the White River Alliance Solid Waste District of Vermont, students at Bethel Elementary received training on recycling, composting, climate change and green cleaning from NRRA School CLUB Educator, Charen Fegard. Charen also conducted a STAR Assessment of the school’s recycling efforts as well as a training on green cleaning and indoor air quality with the facilities staff.
Here are some of the wonderful thank-you notes that Charen received:
BCSWA SWIP Outreach Moves Forward
NRRA and the School Recycling CLUB have begun their outreach efforts by contacting all 25 of the schools in the Bennington County Solid Waste Alliance region. The results of our survey are being tabulated to establish which schools will receive education and technical assistance this year.
Three lucky schools will receive a free Conference Registration for the CLUB’s Conference on May 17. We will announce those winners in the next newsletter.
Milford Middle School Expands Recycling
From MMS Teacher Diane Varney-Parker: For America Recycles day we had students make pledges (on cut up scrap paper) of how they can help our school reduce our daily waste by 10% (as stated in our Grant from the NH Charitable Foundation). All participants got a recycled pencil as thanks.
We also had a banner made up with this pledge that now hangs in our cafeteria.
We also just got new bins for the cafeteria to help us in our efforts. We have 3 sections, on wheels, for Mixed Recycleables, Terracycle and Compost plus a milk carton shaped bin to encourage all to recycle their milk and juice cartons.
The Northeast Resource Recovery Association received $146,000 from the Rural Utilities Service Technical Assistance Grant Programs to work collaboratively with NRRA’s members and regional solid waste planning and education districts to reduce their overall solid waste stream and the toxicity of that stream.
NRRA is targeting specific counties in VT and NH to provide eligible communities within the regional areas with hands-on training, education and technical support in municipal solid waste management. The regional areas include Carroll, Coos, and Grafton counties in NH, and Bennington, Caledonia, Essex, Franklin, and Orleans counties in VT. All school districts, municipalities and solid waste district organizations can partake in the overall services offered by this program.
NRRA is seeking assistance from teachers and school administrators in the targeted regions with providing professional development workshops for in-service teachers, decision makers, and department professionals.
If you or your school is interested in assisting with this project, please contact NRRA’s School CLUB at THECLUB@nrra.net.
NRRA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).
To file a complaint of discrimination write, USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice or TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
Would you like to host a TOLD, Garbage Guerillas or another Workshop at your school? Let the CLUB Help!
- Improves academic performance, especially in science and math
- Can lead to financial savings for schools
- Decreases the school’s carbon footprint through practical solutions that reduce energy and water consumption
- Reduces school waste and conserves natural resources
- Encourages student environmental awareness and stewardship
- Increases parental involvement
- Helps students and teachers develop stronger relationships with their communities
Previous EPA EE-funded research at over 200 New England schools completed by the NRRA School Recycling CLUB (the CLUB) found that the single most challenging area for school recycling programs was in providing curriculum integrations that brought recycling and sustainability into classrooms to be used as the subject matter for meeting state and local curriculum standards. The intention of the CLUB programs is to address just that issue in schools across all six New England states. Our goal is to use the CLUB’s workshops and technical assistance programs, all experiential and hands on, as a tool for educating K-12 students about consumption, proper diversion of waste, the resulting impacts on climate change and what they can do to change it. Through these offerings, we are also afforded the opportunity to link these priorities to curriculum standards. In addition, these workshops will model, for educators or community leaders, exemplary ways of teaching in creative, effective, and efficient methods about human health threats from environmental pollution as well as how to minimize human exposure to preserve good health. Click here to learn more or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1.603.736.4401 ext. 19
IN THE NEWS
Major League Recycler!
Meet the artist who’s on the cusp of being a major league pitcher
December 18, 2015
All of it started because of an ugly painting. Blake McFarland was going to junior college, living at his parents’ house in San Jose, and every day he walked by the rendering of a koi fish he thought particularly awful. McFarland told his mom, Terryl, he could do better, even though he never had painted.
“I kind of just wanted to see what it was like,” McFarland said, and that inherent blend of curiosity and competition happens to have served him well beyond the acrylic-on-canvas ocean scene he created and sold to one of Terryl’s friends for $50. It guided McFarland from football to baseball, from painting to prize-winning art made of recycled tires and, he hopes, from the depths of the minor leagues to Toronto, where he could find himself this season after one of the unlikeliest ascents in recent years.
These days, McFarland whiles away his charmed life on St. Maarten, where he swims in the Atlantic Ocean and catches fish with a spear gun and counts down the days until Feb. 21, when pitchers and catchers are due to report to Toronto Blue Jays spring training in Dunedin, Fla. After five years in the organization, the Blue Jays placed the 27-year-old McFarland on their 40-man roster in November, gilding his path to the major leagues where as a rookie he almost assuredly would capture the title of baseball’s truest Renaissance Man.
While plenty of ballplayers fish and enough surf, none understands the vagaries of procuring tires or wine-bottle corks by the hundred or used surfboards to re-appropriate. This has been McFarland’s life in the offseason, a duality he balanced until his wife, Jessica, enrolled in the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine this winter and gave him a good reason to spend it in St. Maarten, where the school is located. Without his artwork, McFarland finds it easier to focus on baseball, which is perhaps the right maneuver with the major leagues so close.
Three years ago, McFarland figured the possibility of making it was nil. He was the perpetual underdog. Jim Harbaugh recruited McFarland, a 6-foot-5 tight end, to play at the University of San Diego like his brother, Jason. McFarland preferred baseball but didn’t throw hard enough to warrant interest from Division I college baseball teams, so he spent his freshman year playing football at a junior college. He transferred to a juco in Santa Barbara, switched back to baseball and wound up at San Jose State for his final two years of college.
In the 2011 draft following McFarland’s senior season, teams selected 1,530 players. He was not one of them. A scout named Randy Kramer called McFarland after the draft ended and said the Blue Jays wanted to sign him. He didn’t get a penny for the privilege. “Zero. Nothing,” McFarland said. “There’s guys in the locker room next to me with all these bonuses. Here I am, sitting with a plane ticket.”
It was an opportunity, and that’s all McFarland ever needed. In the offseason after the 2011 and ’12 seasons, his interest in art grew enough that he would buy old surfboards, refinish them, paint ocean scenes on them and sell them. McFarland liked working with recycled materials because making something out of nothing spoke to him.
While McFarland’s fastball had ticked up into the low 90s, it was no great shakes for a right-hander, and his lack of a second pitch seemed destined to torpedo his career. In spring 2013, Rick Langford, the Blue Jays’ pitcher whisperer, saw McFarland’s over-the-top delivery – think Josh Collmenter, hammer-throwing type – and his giant hands and wondered if he’d ever tried throwing a split-finger fastball.
“I’m thinking I’m getting released,” McFarland said. “And he comes to me at the beginning of spring training and completely changes my life.” He threw the splitter five times in a bullpen session before a simulated game. Langford told him to try it in the game. He struck out two hitters with the splitter. And that’s how a 25-year-old in A-ball becomes a fringe prospect.
In the offseason after recording 18 saves, McFarland found artistic inspiration to match that of baseball. He saw a picture of a giant horse made of car tires and told Jessica he wanted to try something like that. Working with used ones from tire shops taught him a good lesson. “I learned the hard way,” McFarland said, “you can’t cut through steel-reinforced tires.” A reciprocating saw didn’t work. Neither did a soldering iron to burn through them. McFarland tried motorcycle tires. Same problem.
Then it hit him: bike tires. They were abundant because it cost money to recycle them and he would do bike shops a favor by taking used ones off their hands. They were thin enough to cut with poultry shears. And they wrapped perfectly around the polyurethane taxidermy forms McFarland wanted to use as a base. He had chalked out a muscle structure of a jaguar, wrapped the tires, used wood screws to hold the rubber in place and watched a brilliant, unique piece of art come together.
After the 2014 season, McFarland spent nearly a month working on the full-sized cougar that won first place at a Pacific Art League competition in Palo Alto, Calif. The piece, McFarland notes for those who have slacked on holiday shopping, remains for sale. “I realized after a couple years that art is really difficult to sell and make a living off doing it is tough,” he said. “I’ve been doing this a long time, and I used to think it could be a way to live if I didn’t play baseball.”
Good thing he’s got baseball. McFarland spent most of 2015 at Double-A, where he struck out 62 and walked six in 47 innings. He held his own enough in Triple-A during the last month of the season to convince the Blue Jays to use a 40-man spot on him instead of exposing him to the Rule 5 draft, where they feared he might be taken.
On Nov. 18, McFarland received a text message from Randy Kramer, the scout who signed him.
“Congratulations,” it read. He didn’t understand. He was in St. Maarten. About 10 minutes later, McFarland’s grandfather, John Oldham, the longtime baseball coach at Santa Clara University, called to ask why he hadn’t been picking up his phone. The Blue Jays were calling to tell him he’d been added to the 40-man. He wasn’t the odd one out of 1,530 anymore. He was among the 1,200 on major league rosters.
McFarland turned on his phone’s international plan to listen to congratulatory voicemails left by the Blue Jays. Rare is the soon-to-be-28-year-old who cracks the 40-man for the first time, though, to be fair, McFarland isn’t exactly one who follows the ballplayer script.
For now, he bides his time with Jessica, who will be in the Caribbean for two years before coming back to the United States for her residency. And he thinks about less-ambitious art projects like the signs made of thousands of used wine corks. And he dreams of adding a slider/cutter hybrid pitch to the fastball-and-splitter combination that placed him on the cusp of joining the American League East champions.
“This,” McFarland said, “is what I’ve been working for.”
And he’s almost there, so close, one good spring away from standing atop the mound at Rogers Centre. Blake McFarland’s motivation hasn’t changed, either. Like with that first painting, he just wants to see what it’s like.
Click for more information on Blake McFarland.
From our friends at Plastics News
R is for recycling
Some of you (especially those with toddlers) may have heard about the children’s television staple “Sesame Street” moving to cable TV’s HBO from PBS, but that’s not the only shift going on.
With the 46th season, which started Jan. 16, the muppet mainstay Oscar the Grouch adds a recycling bin to his standard garbage can home. Actually, the show’s producers, Sesame Workshop, said in a news release describing the new set, both the garbage can and the recycling bin are part of an “updated, reimagined and visually vibrant new set.
“Oscar’s can has been updated and moved to a more central location so he can add grouchy commentary to any situation. He’ll also be popping up in trash cans, recycling bins and composting receptacles across the street!”
(Check out the start of the first episode, embedded below, for a good idea of Oscar’s new home when he meets Grouch explorer “Mucko Polo,” played by Alan Cumming.)
While some commentators have complained that the move to HBO’s Family channel and an updated set betray its gritty roots — typical complaint: “G is for gentrification” — the producers say the changes reflect the New York of today vs. that of the city in 1969 when it began. And recycling is part of that new atmosphere.
And for those saying the move to HBO means most kids won’t get a chance to see their favorite characters, the deal between Sesame Workshop and the cable network includes a deal that allows PBS stations to air the new seasons for free nine months.
Paris does the can can!
Pet dog collects rubbish on daily walks and recycles it
A DOG has proved one man’s trash is another’s treasure after collecting rubbish while out for a walk – and recycling it.
By Leda Reynolds
13:09, Mon, Jan 18, 2016 | UPDATED: 13:23, Mon, Jan 18, 2016
Fran Hodges has dubbed her pet pooch Paris as a “one-dog recycling machine” after she began collecting plastic bottles, cans and pieces of litter while out on walks. After collecting the discarded items, Paris, a boxer dog, would take what she had collected back to her home and put them straight in the correct recycling box.
Now Fran, from Bodmin, Cornwall, has created a Facebook page to highlight her dog’s unusual habit, which she likens to a real-life Womble, the mythical creatures with a penchant for recycling on Wimbledon Common. The Facebook page, called “Paris’ Wombling Page – One dog against the litterbugs”, is regularly updated with Paris’ most recent finds, and has already proved popular.
Ms Hodges, 51, said: “She insists on searching out plastic bottles, glass bottles, drink cans, plastic cups and wood – basically anything that is littering the roads we walk along. “She then carries the object all the way around our route, however long, until we reach the recycling bin nearest to our home.
“She’s a bit of a celebrity with friends and colleagues.
“They suggested I consider sending her to clean up the pink plastic bottles that washed up recently.”
Many visitors have taken to the site to praise Paris for being so environmentally minded.
Loz Hosken wrote: “I think Paris deserve a treat” and Claire Barlow wrote: “I have always been a fan of the womblings of Paris! Such fun!”
And speaking of cans . . .
Dear Great American Can Roundup School Recycling Champions,
As the Great American Can Roundup School Challenge celebrates its 6th year, the Can Manufacturers Institute* looks forward to recognizing the top recycling per capita schools in each state and the District of Columbia with $1,000. The school that earns top recycling honors nationwide receives an additional $5,000. There is a total of $56,000 intended to be awarded. This is a CANtastic way to show your true green spirit.
Register today at http://www.canroundup.com/login/, if you have not already. Raise money for your school/activities, score for the planet and recycle your way to the GACR leader board. It is easy, fun and there is time. The School Challenge runs from America Recycles Day (Nov. 15) to Earth Day (April 22) for collecting aluminum cans. Take your cans to the recycling center and upload your receipts by April 28, 2016. Winners will be announced in May.
Al has attached Valentines to exchange with your students and the community. This is an excellent way to engage them in your Roundup and for those already recycling to say thank you for donating their beverage cans to your school.
Have a Happy Valentine’s Day with many happy visits to the recycling center.
Al the Can and Jenny Day
Can Manufacturers Institute (a national trade association representing can manufacturers and suppliers to the industry)
From our friends at Waste 360
Solid Waste Educator Saves Trash to Illustrate Waste Generation
Jan 26, 2016
What if you had to keep all the trash you generated for a year? How would you look at things like disposable water bottles, fast-food wrappers, and little things like straws and Q-tips? For the coming year, Alicia Ebaugh is going to be doing just that. The educator and public outreach coordinator for the La Porte County Solid Waste District (Indiana) has embarked on a year-long experiment to see what types of waste are created in the normal, every-day life of a person.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, in 2013, Americans generated about 254 million tons of trash and recycled and composted about 87 million tons of this material. On average, the U.S. recycled and composted 1.51 pounds of its individual waste generation of 4.40 pounds per person per day.
Whether or not Ebaugh will meet the average, remains to be seen. In fact, it will be seen on a weekly basis on the on the Solid Waste District’s blog and on Facebook. At three weeks into the journey, Ebaugh already realizes that preparation is a big part of reducing her waste. Forgetting lunch at home leads to fast food for lunch and to waste packaging that can’t be recycled. Each week, Ebaugh snaps a photo of waste she generates, including recyclables. She then writes about the process, making observations and suggestions for simple ways to reduce waste.
“I’m allowed to recycle during this experiment and I compost. I’m taking a picture of all of the waste I’m creating, but I’m only keeping the trash. So at the end of the year, this is the stuff that I wasn’t able to find another outlet for,” she says. The 48-gallon trash bin on her patio is all Ebaugh is allowing herself to generate for the entire year. “If I produce more than that, then I just can’t make any more waste.” After the first few weeks, Ebaugh has produced just two little sacks of waste. “So I think I’ll be ok,” she says.
Ebaugh teaches classes about recycling and waste reduction for the solid waste district. “I teach the three Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle – and they’re in that order for a reason. I have already come into this experiment with that mindset, so the waste I create is already different from what I have seen that other people may be making. “I know that reuse is much better at conserving resources than recycling, so even though water bottles are recyclable, I also know my first priority is to avoid creating waste in the first place,” she wrote in her blog last week.
Small changes like a reusable water bottle make a difference. “It’s a simple thing that I did. Behavior change is the target here. We’re human beings. We don’t want to change things. We’re good doing what we’re doing, and a lot of people don’t want to be bothered doing that other stuff. I want people to know that I am living up to what I’m saying, and it’s easy for them to do it, too.” Ebaugh also carries a reusable straw, fork and even chopsticks to reduce waste. But even with planning, waste happens. “I obviously expected issues with keeping the trash. But of course, you create trash in more than one place. So I’m finding myself carrying home a paper plate from a party in my purse, and napkins from eating out and containers and stuff, which is annoying.” Additionally, she occasionally argues with herself over whether she really needs ketchup for her fries or jelly on her toast if it means hanging on to those little packages to dispose of in her bin. “Sometimes I take one for the team,” she says.
It can take some planning, but some steps are simple enough, she says. It’s about changing those habits. “People are just used to throwing things away. You just throw it in the trash can and it’s out of the way. You take it out to the garbage, you forget about it and it’s gone. The premise behind that is that it does go somewhere. That’s what I want people to realize – that when you’re throwing stuff out, it doesn’t just go away or disappear. It goes somewhere else, and it sits there instead of in your house.” Food waste is another serious issue that Ebaugh hopes to address during her experiment. “You don’t see food waste in my pictures, because I really don’t waste it,” she says.
According to New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Americans throw out 40 percent of all food generated in the U.S. Ebaugh wants to help people understand how serious it is. “The waste of food in the United States is just horrendous,” she says.
Sometimes trash is personal. Packaging and water bottles are one thing, but personal hygiene items like Q-tips, tampons and even dental floss are a little less comfortable to share with a large audience. “It’s waste,” she says. “But I don’t really want to tell people how often I floss,” she joked. However those items, too, are waste products she plans to address when necessary and to blog about how to reduce even that waste. “People should talk about that stuff. Even if it makes them squeamish,” Ebaugh said. When teaching a class called Garbology, the science and study of garbage, Ebaugh often tells students that garbage tells the story.
“I tell the kids that your garbage doesn’t lie about you. It tells people exactly what you’re eating, where you shop and depending on what else you put in there, where you’ve been. It says a lot about you as a person. It’s interesting to look at my own trash and think, ‘what does this say about me?’”
Buyer Beware – Dollar Store Dangers
Toxic items at the dollar store | Local News – WMUR Home
Contests, Scholarships & Fundraisers
Team Earth Poster Contest
Having updated the Team Earth Program Manual, the CLUB is in search of a new poster that relects those revisions. All CLUB artists are welcom to compete in the Team Earth Poster Contest (see below) that will run through April 15, 2016.
DEADLINE: Email a picture of your entry to theCLUB@nrra.net by Friday, April 15, 2016 to be eligible!
$$$$$$$$$$ Other School Grant Opportunities $$$$$$$$$$
(Collected from NWF Eco-Schools Newsletter – August, 2015)
DonorsChoose.org – Can list on site up to 4 months
Helps classrooms and students in need
EPA & NHDES NEWS
EPA Rebates Will Fund Cleaner School Buses in 85 Communities
EPA announced the award of more than $7 million in rebates to replace or retrofit 400 older diesel school buses. The rebates are going to 85 school bus fleets in 35 states, each of which will receive rebates through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding. EPA has implemented standards to make newer diesel engines more than 90 percent cleaner, but many older diesel school buses remain in operation and pre-date these standards.
The new and retrofitted buses will reduce pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter that are linked to numerous health problems, including asthma and lung damage. Children are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of air pollution as their lungs are still developing.
Learn about the Clean Diesel Rebates.
We completed our reports, set our new goals and earned our new WasteWise Logo!
For more information on conserving resources, go to the WasteWise website!
From our friends at www.allfreekidscrafts.com:
Snow days are a blast when you’re little, but for parents, these unexpected school cancellations mean you have to provide a day’s worth of activities for your stir-crazy kiddos. With Printable Snow Day Bingo, you’ll never run out of fun winter activities for kids. Whether you need indoor activities for kids or want to send them outdoors, this free printable is stocked with tons of fun boredom busters to entertain your rambunctious little ones. Simply print out this free printable bingo game and help your kids cross out enough activities to get five squares in a row. Use Printable Snow Day Bingo again and again, and you’re sure to have a winning day at home!
Materials: Paper Crafts
Age Group: Toddlers, Preschool & Kindergarten, Elementary School, Pre-Teens
03/22/16 – World Water Day – To plan your event, visit www.unwater.org.
04/07/16 – Vermont Organics Recycling Summit – Held at Vermont Technical College in Randolph, VT; for more info, visit: www.compostingvermont.org/vors/
04/22/16 – Earth Day – To plan your event, see future newsletters and visit www.earthday.org.
04/29/16 – Arbor Day – To plan your event, visit www.arborday.org.
05/17/16 – NRRA School CLUB Conference – Come join us in celebrating NRRA’s 35th Anniversary at the Radisson in Nashua! Details coming in future newsletters.
06/05/16 – World Environment Day – To plan your event, visit www.unep.org.
06/08/16 – World Oceans Day – To plan your event, visit www.worldoceansday.org.
Watch for our next issue around St. Patrick’s Day – After all, we love the wearin’ of the Green!
WHAT IS YOUR SCHOOL CLUB UP TO? The NRRA School CLUB always loves to hear what its members and other schools are doing to recycle and help the environment so we can share it through our newsletter. There are so many different things being done, and you are our best source of information about what is working in your school. It can be a new program, a long-term project that’s been proven over time, a field trip, etc. Always feel free to contact me or submit something and you may see it in the next School News You Can Use! – Gwen Erley, theCLUB@nrra.net 1-603-736-4401 Ext. 19