An environmental education

The kids in Greystone Elementary School’s Green Team understand how important our earth is.

“(Recycling) makes me feel good because I’m helping the animals in the water,” said Sophie Traywick, 10. “It makes me want to do more to protect the environment.”

The Green Team started this past March after a parent decided it’d be good for the school to recycle more.

Green Team recycling coordinator, fifth-grade teacher Wayne Roberson, said that members of the Green Team put up an enclosure, made of chain-link fence, in the school’s lobby to throw plastic bottles into.

The display was designed to bring attention to the recycling cause, and the Green Team succeeded in that mission: within a month, the enclosure was full to the brim with bottles.

“The Green Team, in my opinion, is bigger than just recycling. It’s about awareness,” Roberson said.

Since March, the Green Team has recycled about 10,000 bottles, Roberson said. That time frame only adds up to four months of work since the students had a summer break.

The school also recently won an Alabama Excellence in Recycling Award from the Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation. The award includes a $1,000 grant, which will be used to help the school’s academic programs or the recycling program.

The students at Greystone Elementary usually recycle newsprint, water bottles and cardboard boxes, Roberson said. They can recycle any recyclable material except glass.

Since the program started, some students have developed better recycling habits at home.

“Now my mom and dad recycle a lot more,” said 10-year-old Angel Norwood.

Hunter Braham, 10, said learning about the environment has made him realize how important recycling is.

“I have been recycling a lot more because I never knew how bad stuff could pollute our environment if we didn’t recycle,” he said.

Roberson said students are enthusiastic about the program.

“Kids are interactive. They want to participate and give back to the school,” he said.

Eventually, the program should spread to other Hoover schools. Spain Park High School already has a Green Team in place.

If children are taught to appreciate the environment when they’re young, they’ll keep that lesson forever, Roberson said.

“There’s only one Earth to live on. I believe we need to take care of what we have,” he said. “Learning to recycle is one small thing. You’ve got to start somewhere. Someone from this class might be in politics 20 years from now. They might be a political leader, and they’ll already know that philosophy.”