Listen to the kids

Last week, at the request of a science teacher at Charlotte Central School, two Eco-RepsÑmyself and Senior Hayley SmallÑvisited three sixth grade classrooms to talk about the Eco-Reps program and what we do to promote sustainability on campus.

Charlotte Central School has adopted the environmental mission of ÒThe 4 RÕsÓ, which stand for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot.

The first three are typical in environmental mission statements, but the last ÒRÓ incorporates something new into the mix: Compost.

The school, much like our own University, is trying to get students to integrate environmentally responsible actions into their daily lives.

Equipped with a salad bar containing all local veggies and an absence of plastic silverware, the administrationÕs sustainability efforts are obvious.

They also have a station set up which allows the kids to separate their waste and dump out their liquids.

Charlotte Central even has a collection bucket for non-recyclable bottle tops, which studentÕs up-cycle and make into art projects which are hung all over the school.

At the end of our presentation we gave the kids a Òrecycling challengeÓ and asked them to go through a bag of props and identify what items were compostable, recyclable or trash. The kids nailed it.

Most of the sixth graders we interacted with seemed to know more about recycling, compost and sustainability than the average UVM student.

We went to Charlotte Central School to teach kids, but they taught us an important lesson: children are our future. The more that sustainability education is assimilated into early education curriculum, the better.

When these students graduate and go to UVM or other colleges they will already possess the sustainable behaviors that Eco-Reps try so hard to teach students on campus every day.