Worming their way to a better environment | NevadaAppeal.com

Worming their way to a better environment

Teri Vance

Throughout the year in the environmental club, Carson Middle School students have learned the value of recycling.

“It might help our planet and maybe we’ll live on it longer,” said sixth-grader Nathaniel Davis, 12.

But those lessons were no match for their guests Tuesday afternoon.

Diane Benson of the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection brought some red wigglers imported from China to demonstrate the benefits of composting.

“The worm is the greatest recycler,” she explained. “Worms are able to eat their weight in food a day.”

The club started last year through a 21st Century grant run in conjunction with the school’s two-hour after-school program. The first hour students spend in academic tutoring and the final hour offers enrichment programs, including the environmental club.

Benson, who is part of the environmental protection division’s outreach program, said she helps educate the young and old about the benefits of recycling and composting.

“We all make waste,” she said. “It’s a matter of handling it properly to keep our air, land and water clean. We all have a part.”

Students watched the worms work, held and examined them under magnifying glasses.

“You learn facts about worms that some people don’t know,” said Dillon Culver, 12. “Apparently they get some food and eat that so they can give off nutrients to make plants grow.”

As part of the club, students pick up recycling from all the classrooms and sort it into the appropriate bins. They have recently joined the national terracycling movement as well, said adviser Laurel Dority.

As part of terracycling, students collect non-recyclable items like chip bags and juice pouches and send them in where they will be repurposed into other items, like purses and backpacks.

With the proceeds from the recycling and terracycling, Dority said, the club wants to purchase recycling bins to be placed throughout the school. She said they are also working on creating a wetlands on the school grounds.

Dority said she wants to increase the students’ visibility in the community, enlisting them to work at community events to encourage recycling.

For Ana Cuadras, 13, the message is obvious.

“If we don’t recycle, who will?”