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Durango High School promotes sustainability through ‘Zero Waste Week’

Green Team tries to help community while gaining hands-on learning experience
Durango High School host Zero Waste Week events next week as part of the school’s dedication to sustainability. The events have been organized by the school’s Green Team, a group of students dedicated to protecting the environment. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Durango High School students are trying to promote environmental sustainability by having a “Zero Waste Week” next week organized by the school’s Green Team.

The DHS Green Team is made up of school leaders and students who are committed to promoting and implementing the school’s sustainability plan. The team provides a forum for interested students to implement projects.

Green teams allow Durango School District 9-R students to have hands-on learning opportunities while achieving environmental goals. Through these teams students create programs, such as battery collection, carton recycling, composting, gardens and water conservation.

The events aim to educate students about the impacts of waste and what can be done to reduce it. For Zero Waste Week, DHS students are working with custodians and the Ron Reed, the district’s supervisor of facilities custodial services.

“These students are really passionate and motivated to create positive change – one piece of trash at a time,” Reed said. “I’m impressed with their plans for Zero Waste Week and their desire to inspire younger students at our other schools.”

DHS Green Team Co-President Aisha O’Neil said the team’s goal is to first raise awareness about waste, then take steps to reduce it. The point is to teach students skills they can use outside the classroom.

“Waste has an outsized impact on the world at large as well as in our community,” O’Neil said. “It creates pollution and harms humans and wildlife. We believe that through our own actions, we can create a more sustainable future for our school and town.”

Zero Waste Week events will include Ballot Bins on Nov. 28, Community Trash Clean-Up Day on Nov. 30, Poster Competition on Dec. 1 and the From Trash to Art Contest on Dec. 2.

Ballot Bins will involve trash bins being set up around campus with a poll question like “Batman or superman?” Students will vote by disposing of their trash into the bin based on their answer.

On Community Trash Clean-Up Day, students will meet outside the high school and then disperse into groups where they will pick up trash around the high school and dispose of it into dumpsters. The high school is encouraging community members with trucks to help move trash bags to dumpsters. Community members are also welcome to join the students for Trash Clean-Up Day.

The Poster Competition will be organized by the DHS Green Team members who will reach out to middle and elementary school students in the district. Their goal is to raise awareness about sustainability and increase younger students' involvement in the district’s green teams.

Participants in the competition will make posters relating to waste-reduction while the Green Team judges the posters to select a winner.

Participants will make posters relating to the waste-reduction theme, and the Green Team will set up and judge the contest. The Trash to Art Contest involves students making artwork from trash to promote recycling.

tbrown@durangoherald.com

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