Recycling is fundamental in Hyrum
By M. Cory Broussard
April 30, 2006 | HYRUM -- Saving the earth is hard,
but the third graders from Ms. VanSlyke's class at Lincoln
Elementary are up to the challenge.
"Recycling is important," Vanslyke said, and the children
agree. When she asks them why, the kids yell back over
the big boxes filled with paper and cardboard that they
are dumping into the big blue recycling bin.
"To save the environment," one student says.
"To save animals," says another.
"To save the earth," says the last.
It's a lofty goal, but the third graders trudge around
the school gathering wasted bits of paper from the office,
classrooms and the art department every Friday without
The Lincoln Elementary recycling program was started
nearly ten years ago by VanSlyke and Teri Peery, another
third-grade teacher. Students have been dutifully making
the trek from the school to the recycling bin ever since.
VanSlyke and Peery's students are responsible for
all the recyclable paper and cardboard in the school,
all except the 4th and 5th grade rooms that take care
of it themselves.
"It's hard sometimes," VanSlyke said. "Some teachers
just don't want to recycle." But despite the opposition,
the long hot and cold walks from the school and the
big boxes, the recycling goes on.
Recycling isn't the only environmental friendly teaching
tool VanSlyke and Peery use, they also have a garden
just outside their classrooms. The teachers first planted
the garden, a 20 foot patch of earth set in an alcove
of the school, 12 years ago before the school was even
finished. It is taken care of by VanSlyke, Peery and
their students and is populated with foreign and local
plants, snakes and birds.
"Two robins were playing and they hit the window,"
VanSlyke said. "It was sad." The students nod solemnly
The teachers use the garden to make comparisons between
non-living and living things, as well a place for students
to write in their journals and create poetry. The garden,
which is in a bit of disarray after the long winter,
is available for anyone who wants to use it.
Between recycling and the garden the third graders
at Lincoln Elementary are getting a heathy dose of everything
environmental. Judging by the smiles on their faces
as they watched the paper slide into the recycling bins,
they wouldn't have it any other way.