When incoming senior Morgan Ward put cardboard boxes in Sabinal High School classrooms, she never knew her project would encompass so much. A booth at Wild Hog Fest in Sabinal and a grant later, Ward is still working to inform and help others recycle.
Ward said the project started at school before it grew to include the communities of Sabinal and Utopia.
“A few fellow students and I put cardboard boxes in all the classrooms at our school. We asked all the students to put paper, plastic, cardboard and cans into the boxes,” Ward explained. “Then we collected the boxes every Friday and drove the recyclables to Utopia Recycles every Saturday.”
In addition to transporting recycling from their school, the students also make visits to Sabinal businesses that have reached out to them.
When Ward, daughter of Amber West and Jess Clark Ward IV, hosted a booth with flyers at the Hog Festival in Sabinal during March, the number of businesses interested grew. Students at the booth handed out informational packets before they helped others at the park make jewelry out of recycled plastic.
“We made earrings and necklaces out of plastic bottles that we collected from the school,” Ward said.
The big news, however, lies in the grant Sabinal High School students received from the Uvalde Agri-Women program.
“The grant gave us money to make vivariums. We presented these at the [Texas Agri-Women] Farm to Table event in Uvalde,” she said. “We used the vivariums to present how pesticides and over-fertilization affects soil productivity, as well as how resilient plants can be.”
Vivariums are enclosed glass bottles, jars, or tanks that contain plants and soil that contain their own water cycle.
Ward is grateful for the grant she received – as well as the support she has received from the surrounding communities.
“The amount of support I get from the community means the world to me. I never expected that I’d receive as much support as I have,” Ward said. “Not many people worry about recycling because it’s so easy just to throw things away. I’m really proud of my community for making the effort.”
Regardless, Ward said there is still a lot of work to do – and more of the community needs to recycle.
“There are a lot more things that I think we need to improve on. It would be amazing if the whole town would recycle, but I would need the whole town to support me,” she said. “And I don’t think we are there yet.”
When she does have that support, though, Ward wants to do even more in her community.
“I’d also like to start a community garden and farmer’s market, because Sabinal has a very small selection of fruits and vegetables,” she said. “I think it would benefit the people of Sabinal, and the planet, if we did more to pick up and care for our community.”
Incoming senior and classmate Mari Aguilar agrees, saying, “Recycling can really make a huge impact on our environment by helping us reduce the pollution rates and reducing the needs for more materials.”
Just like Ward, Aguilar has a lot of hope for the future – and plans to work towards their collective goals.
“My goals are to keep recycling and motivate others in the community and in the school,” Aguilar said.
As of now, 11 students are involved in recycling at Sabinal High School.
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