First Posted: 3/1/2014
The goal of the Abington Heights High School Environmental Activist Club is to bring awareness to the degree to which the community is impacted by pollution. Members are doing their part to help reduce pollution by encouraging their classmates and teachers to recycle aluminum cans.
Eden Tinkelman, a junior and one of nine students in the club, explained how she sought the help of the high school guidance department when she was looking for something to do after school.
“The guidance counselor suggested I join this club, since I’m into the environmental stuff, but this club wasn’t running at that time,” said Tinkelman, who was so eager to get involved she consulted with Rosa Sabie, high school biology, earth and space and environmental science teacher. “She said this club wasn’t active so we could restart it, so I went to Mrs. (Pamela) Murray (high school principal) and she okay-ed it.”
Approximately two months ago, they set their recycling program in motion when Tinkelman and senior, Lauren Coggins met with other interested students to discuss and organize their recycling efforts. They chose a logo from a few different photos Tinkelman found on line and members voted on one that best represents what can happen if we don’t help the environment.
At their first work session, sophomore Olivia Mendo said, “We got together to think about projects that could help our environment. Usually when you think about the environment, the first thing that pops in your head is recycling. If you have cans and you put them in the garbage, that’s a waste of our natural resources, because they can be recycled and made into other cans, or other things made out of aluminum.”
The father of one of the students donated five large, blue re-purposed paint containers, which members placed in key locations throughout the school to remind students and teachers to deposit their cans in the containers.
“We’re trying to inform as many people as possible,” sophomore Abby Gilman said.
To date, their campaign has included the distribution of posters throughout the school displaying various facts about the environment and daily announcements, once in the morning and afternoon and via social media.
“I was looking through facts about the environment,” Gilman said, “and if you listen and read some of the things that actually happen as a result of recycling — the differences it can make — it really does make a huge difference. Cans…you’re seeing more of them now in high school, so we want to recycle them.”
After collecting the cans, Gilman said they will turn the cans into cash, figuratively speaking, at Fiegleman’s Recycling Center, Scranton, and will use the funds for other club or school projects.
“We’ll either use the money for the club to get more can bins, fund future projects, or use it towards the school to help with the flowers in the courtyard,” Mendo said. “When the springtime comes, we want to do a garden out in the courtyard with blue and white flowers.”
Rachel Martin, a sophomore, said, “It’s a great way for the courtyard to be shown to the school, because a lot of people…didn’t even know we have a courtyard and a lot of students don’t, so this could be a good way to advertise it and show that this is something we have and make it look nicer for students.”
Sabie, who is the club advisor and voice of her students, said it is exciting for her to see the excitement of the students and their desire to get involved.
“My role is liaison between the students’ ideas and administration and making sure what they want to do is acceptable,” she said, “and making sure we have their support at the top for their ideas. They pitch an idea to me and I pitch it to them and I come back with modifications.”
Club members planned a community wide cleanup, scheduled for May 31, and also plan to participate in the Adopt-a-Highway program.