Collage of photos of Colgan High School students and a recycling bin

After noticing an accumulation of recyclable waste on their school property, Charles J. Colgan Sr. High School students created and implemented an outdoor recycling program. This project is the latest initiative from the student-lead Healthy Environments Advance Life (HEAL) nonprofit organization.

Members of HEAL reached out to the school division's Energy Management and Sustainability Team (EMAST) for advice on how to bring their vision to life. EMAST and the PWCS Facilities Department assisted with the procurement and installation of the bins at Colgan High. The collaboration inspired the students to take their idea a step further.

Junior Tony Bright explained, "Working with EMAST allowed us to align our goals and be able to create a project-based learning (PBL) experience to expand the outdoor recycling program to other schools."

Jessica Weimer, EMAST member, said, "Components of sustainability are included in their PBL experience. So, the students are designing a curriculum for other students. In any subject area, teachers would be able to utilize this PBL to present a real-world scenario about recycling, waste reduction, and energy conservation to their students."

The Colgan students plan to begin to assist in implementing this PBL experience at elementary schools. Senior Tia Brown explained, "We want to start with elementary schools because we want to teach them why it's so important, how it can affect their health, their parent's health, and how it will benefit everyone around them."