Polson School District 23 students — as a whole — are putting forth a “super effort” with recycling programs at the middle school and high school. They are truly making a difference in helping Mother Earth.
Representatives of the recycling programs at their respective schools were recognized by receiving SMART School Recycling Challenge Champion accolades, including a colorful banner — and a $1,000 check to go toward supporting the recycling effort.
Making the banner and check presentations Monday, May 13 was Montana Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney. He was accompanied by Claudia Hewston, the Montana SMART Schools coordinator, and Robyn Boyle, Department of Environmental Quality program manager.
Hewston is an Americorps coordinator.
DEQ teams with the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) to host the Americorps coordinator.
Amy Williams, a Special Services teacher at Polson Middle School and the School Garden Coordinator (among other notable titles), led the PMS effort. Bea Frissell, in her senior year, was the recycling coordinator at Polson High School.
On hand Monday at PMS was Tony Incashola, a tribal elder with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and liasion for the PMS recycling program.
THE SMART Schools Challenge is a friendly competition to help Montana’s K-12 public schools Save Money and Resources Today. Schools across Montana compete to see who can save the most money and resources by conserving energy, recycling waste, and implementing green practices that benefit student health.
The Challenge is divided into three sub-challenges — Energy Challenge, Recycling Challenge, and Green Schools Challenge. Most importantly, schools that enroll in the SMART Schools Challenge join a network of likeminded Montana schools and can learn from their peers’ resource conservation experiences.
The SMART Schools Recycling Challenge is for schools that recycle, compost, or work to reduce the amount of waste produced. SMART Recycling Schools monitor the amount of waste they recycle, compost, or divert from landfills, while educating students, teachers, and communities about the importance of waste reduction.
FOUR CHAMPION schools are selected in each of the three sub-challenges. These winners became a certified Montana SMART School, receiving a heartfelt commendation from Cooney.
“The world that we have now has not been able to deal with a lot of these problems,” Cooney said of recycling when commending PMS students. “The composting and gardening that you’re doing is really consuming waste.” Waste often creates environmental problems. “We need to stop doing that now,” he said. “It’s your world. You’re the ones who will be running this world before you know it. Hopefully, you are going to be better stewards of Mother Earth ... You are going to have to set the example for everyone coming up behind you. I want you to know that we appreciate those things that those in the school have worked so hard on.”
Cooney then presented a champions’ certificate, banner and $1,000 check to Williams, who accepted on behalf of PMS.
Earlier in the day, Cooney made a similar presentation to the participants in the PHS recycling program.