Recycling and environmental awareness have made their way into 4-H exhibit booths at the Douglas County Free Fair.
In a project offered for the first time this year, 4-H'ers designed and created several household and wearable items from materials that otherwise would have been thrown away.
"We were trying to re-enforce any type of recycling effort," said Barbara Lilyhorn, Douglas County 4-H agent and coordinator of the "A Way With Waste" recycling project. "We're giving them an opportunity with sharing their ideas with the community."
A total of 13 entries were judged Wednesday in the "A Way With Waste" project on display in building No. 3 of the Doulgas County 4-H Fairgrounds.
The projects included a Christmas stocking made of old denim jeans, wind chimes made of broken pottery pieces and a grain scoop for sheep made from a bleach bottle.
"ALL THE kids were real interested when they brought their stuff to see what the other kids had made," Lilyhorn said.
"I'm always kind of impressed by what the kids can do," said Patricia Marvin, recycling coordinator for the city of Lawrence, who judged the projects and awarded ribbons on Wednesday.
"I'm glad they included the exhibit."
All participants received a ribbon for their projects.
The grand champion ribbon was awarded to Jesse Lilyhorn, 10, Lawrence, for his grocery-tote bag made from two old flour bags.
"We decided we could save some money and help the environment," said Jesse, whose mother is Barbara Lilyhorn. "Grandma showed us how to sew it."
Jesse said he sewed one of the bags inside the other. He then cut strips from one of the bags and sewed them on as handles.
"WE USE it for groceries and for whatever else you want," he said.
Participants in the project attended a monthly "ecolokids" 4-H class from January through May, Barbara Lilyhorn said.
They began making projects in April, she said.
"This is the first time the fair has had a class where you can use this stuff," said Kristina Wilson, 12, Vinland, who submitted four projects.
Her favorite was a Christmas stocking made from an old pair of jeans, "because it's the most usable," she said.
Kristina's sister, Angela, 16, said the projects didn't take long to put together.
Angela helped make a heart-shaped wreath from denim strips, red ribbons, and lace that was left over by other 4-H'ers' projects.
"Instead of trashing it, you can use it," she said. "This (wreath) took about a day."
Barbara Lilyhorn said she planned to run the project again next year.