By Riley Manning/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Ballard Park will feature some eye-catching new improvements after Thursday with brightly painted recycling bins and bird houses.
The bins are the work of Tupelo High School seniors Addison Harris, Nitu Singh, Parks Graham, Braxton Presley, and Iisha Copeland, who chose the task as their senior project. A community-oriented project has been required of THS students in the past, but this is the first year students have been allowed to work in groups, which allows for bigger projects.
“In the past, each individual student had to complete a project,” said group member Parks Graham. “Since we’re in block schedule this year, everyone is together for more time, so it was easy to make it a group thing.”
The group, dubbed the “Tree Huggers,” wanted a project that would help the environment. The Tree Huggers presented their work at Ballard Park on Thursday afternoon in anticipation of the upcoming high school soccer tournament.
“At first we just wanted to make birdhouses out of recyclable material, but as we talked about it we kept coming up with more and more ideas,” said Harris.
Once they agreed on a direction, they contacted Don Lewis, director of Tupelo Parks and Recreation. Lewis served as their adviser and mentor throughout the project.
“Tupelo Parks and Recreation has never recycled plastic and paper from sporting events before,” Lewis said.
Lewis said he liked the idea from the start. Working with the Tree Huggers, they acquired a special Dumpster for recyclable materials that their bins will be emptied into on a regular basis for pickup.
To add a creative twist to their endeavor, the Tree Huggers sent their bland-looking bins around to other Tupelo schools to decorate.
“You can look and see them from way across the field,” Lewis said.
In addition, the bins will be placed alongside trash cans that are already in place so visitors may conveniently recycle their paper, aluminum and plastic refuse.