EARTH DAY EVERY DAY

n At Booneville High School,

a recycling program reduces landfill waste and raises money for charity.

BY GINNY MILLER

Daily Journal

Brad DeVaughn is helping the environment by example. “It’s so hard to tell the students to care when you’re not doing anything about it. That’s hypocritical,” said DeVaughn, a biology teacher who started a recycling program last spring at Booneville High School.

“We have the program because teaching is nothing without doing,” he said. “Change only takes place when action takes place.”

DeVaughn began the recycling program as a test, he said, just to see what the participation level would be. Overwhelmed by the response, he applied for a grant and was awarded the 2007 Excellence in Recycling Award by the Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation.

The $2,000 he received went a long way, supplying each classroom at BHS wth its own recycling bin. The school also invested in a pallet jack to help move around the materials students collect and sort on Thursdays after school.

“This school year we have turned in over 18,000 pounds of paper, plastic and cardboard,” DeVaughn said, noting that other materials such as cell phones and printer cartridges also are collected. “If we recycle, then we’re not filling up landfills.”

Because there’s no curbside recycling in Booneville, DeVaughn opened the program to the community.

“We allow small businesses and individuals to drop off every other Thursday,” he said. “Every Thursday we have students that stay after school to sort the materials that are brought in.”

“I like to help out,” BHS sophomore Buddy Johnson said. “I go every time there’s a truck out there.”

A truck from Starkville Recycling stops by every six weeks to haul away the paper and plastic.

“The expenses of transport take up most of the cost, but the money we do collect is donated to LeBonheur Children’s Medical Center in Memphis,” DeVaughn said. “So far we’ve made $412 off off the cell phones and printer cartridges for LeBonheur.”

Katelyn Calvert is a BHS junior whose primary reason for helping with the recycling project is to help the environment.

But she didn’t always feel that way. “Before I didn’t think much about it,” she said. Now, “I know I can’t change the world, but I can do a little bit.”

Contact Daily Journal education writer Ginny Miller at 678-1582 or ginny.miller@djournal.com. Also read her education blog, Inside the Backpack, at the djournal.com Blog Center.