Girl p 6 11-29-18

Category: Current Issue


Scout Presentation
Top photo:  Scouts from the scout year award ceremony in June 2018 --- These girls worked on the recycling video. Front row: Marit Sjogren, Helen Telford, Daphne Heard, Gwen White, Emilia Costa. Back row: Melissa Telford, assistant troop leader, Emma Costa, Corinne LaMontagne, Isabella Barrows, Alyssa Szemreylo, Kaitlyn Becker, Elizabeth Costa , troop leader. Photo by Richard Telford.  Above: Scouts conduct a program about recycleing at Pomfret Community School.

Girl Scouts make recycling real
POMFRET — The 4th, 5th and 6th grade Girl Scouts at Pomfret Community School were troubled when they saw only paper getting recycled in the recycling bins in the classrooms, and they wanted to change that.  Nov. 15, Connecticut Recycles Day, the Girl Scouts of Troop 65500 of Pomfret, Eastford and Thompson, along with Sarah Heminway, director of Northeast Corner Programs, Connecticut Audubon Society at Pomfret, presented an assembly about increasing recycling at Pomfret Community School.
Their idea started a year and a half ago when they attended a talk by Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel at the Audubon Center in Pomfret, where they learned about a carbon footprint. When asked how they might reduce their carbon footprint, their concerns about plastics and other recyclable materials going into the classroom trash lead them to an answer. Reducing their carbon footprint by reducing waste and increasing recycling at their school became their mission, and the focus of their Bronze Award – a Girl Scout Award requiring at least 20 hours of work resulting in a positive change in their community.
Troop 65500 did research, conducted interviews with experts, wrote letters, visited a facility where garbage is incinerated (COVANTA, Preston), developed a recycling video, and met with their principal Susan Imschweiler. With her support, they collaborated with Sarah Heminway and planned an assembly to educate the school about including mixed recyclables in recycle bins throughout the school. Mixed recycling signs were made and posted throughout the school . Some mixed recycling was happening in the kitchen and staff areas, but they wanted to expand that schoolwide.
Girl Scout Corinne LaMontagne started the assembly by asking, “Did you know PCS produces 263 tons of garbage per year? That’s more than the weight of the Statue of Liberty!” Sarah Heminway, asked, “Where does your garbage go?” Heminway explained that garbage no longer goes into landfills because they got too big. For 20 years, all the garbage in CT has been burned. That continues today, and it produces a lot of smoke and ash, resulting in poor air quality and negatively impacts our ground water. She said: “All the garbage from all over CT is burned, and all that ash is sent to an ash landfill right here in Putnam.”  When she asked the audience if they thought it was important to reduce, reuse and recycle, a resounding YES filled the room.
The recycling video made by the Girl Scouts explained that mixed recyclables include plastics 1-7, glass, foil, paper, cardboard, and metal cans and all these  items should be placed in the classroom bin. The video included several interviews with experts including Ken Huebner, the facilities manager of COVANTA, who said reducing plastics in the waste stream by recycling them helps reduce acid gases that result from burning garbage. Virginia Walton, the Recycling Coordinator from Mansfield, was interviewed in the film. She explained how to find out what can and can’t be recycled in Connecticut by accessing the website  Ms. Walton also gave tips for schools how to reduce waste by reducing packaging in the lunchroom, setting up a share table for unused items, using washable cups and food service items, and composting lunchtime food scraps. In one scene of the film, Girl Scout Helen Telford talks with Mrs. Otto, a kindergarten teacher at PCS, and her classroom fish about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, one of many massive collections of trash floating in the ocean, primarily comprised of plastic.  To the fish she says, “You must have a lot of cousins out there, how do you feel about that?”
The recycling video was made by:  PCS students * Emilia Costa, *Emma Costa, Courtney Dodds, Daphne Heard, *Corinne LaMontagne, Marit Sjogren, *Helen Telford, and *Gwen White, as well as *Isabella Barrows of Thompson and Kaitlyn Becker and Alyssa Szemreylo of Eastford. (* Indicates those who completed their Bronze Awards.) Troop 65500 is led by Elizabeth Costa and assisted by Melissa Telford. For more information on what to recycle in Connecticut, go to