Some local elementary students soon will star in a video promoting environmental awareness, but taking part in environmental projects is nothing for new for many of them.
Janice Grashel, a member of the Lawrence City Commission's Recycling Advisory Board, said she soon would be working with students from Hillcrest, Cordley and Grant schools on the video. Grashel, who is also an instructional skills coordinator for the Lawrence school district, said a main purpose of the video would be to make local residents more aware of the recycling opportunities in Lawrence.
"Hopefully, the tape can be used not only by classroom teachers but by civic organizations in the community," she said. "It's not just for the school district."
In addition to appearing in the video, the students will shoot footage and help write the video's narrated text.
"WE WANT THE children to be as involved as they can," Grashel said.
The students are already quite involved in promoting environmental awareness through their schools' Youth In Action groups.
This year, the Hillcrest YIA group convinced the school's cafeteria to stop using plastic foam trays. And although the Lawrence School Board took no action on the group's request to stop using plastic foam products districtwide, plastic foam cups now are no longer used at the district's administration center or at school board meetings.
"I think they make us aware that we can look for alternatives," said School Board President Mary Lou Wright.
The students said they opposed the use of plastic foam products because, among other things, plastic foam is non-degradable, and its styrene content has been linked to serious health problems.
The students also have been involved in the recycling of aluminum, plastic, steel and glass, and the money raised by those efforts has helped such people as earthquake victims in California and tornado victims in Hesston, Kan.
ACCORDING TO Helen Tuley, Hillcrest YIA coordinator, the students still are moving full steam ahead. In fact, the students won't even begin shooting the video until the end of April because they're too busy preparing for Earth Day on April 22.
Tuley said students would be preparing a float for the city's Earth Day Parade, participating in a Kansas University forum on the environment and discussing environmental issues in class.
"We're kind of turning all of our textbooks aside for a week and working on awareness," Tuley said.
Another group promoting environmental awareness are the students at Sunset Hill School. Students in grades kindergarten through six recently began an aluminum can drive to raise money for the purchase of two trees one for the school grounds, the other for the Brandon Woods Retirement Community.
THE PLANTING of the trees is scheduled for April 23, which was as close to Earth Day that the students could get because Earth Day doesn't fall on a school day.
Beulah Duncan, educational coordinator at Brandon Woods and developer of the project, said she thought about getting the school involved because she lives acrosss the street from the school, ``and I see the kids all the time."
Sixth-grader Philip Oberzan, a member of the Sunset Hill Student Council that approved the project, said the recycling drive was a good way to help Brandon Woods residents beautify their surroundings.
"Also, a tree gives a lot of oxygen and takes in a lot of carbon dioxide. It's good for the environment," said Philip.