Hueneme High holds recycling event

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© Rob Varela/The Star
Erynn Smith, a farm educator with Join the Farm (right) gives Hueneme High School senior Rene Garcia a high-five after he picked an organically grown, farm-fresh carrot over a store-bought carrot in a blind taste test Thursday at the school. © Rob Varela/The Star
Fresh-picked, organically grown carrots were preferred 6-1 over the store-bought variety by Hueneme High School students in a taste test Thursday that was part of a recycling event.

“Not bad at all,” said Erynn Smith of the Join the Farm cooperative, which provided the organic carrots for the taste test.

At the Green Audit Team’s recycling event at the school, students received information about recycling and then were encouraged to sign a petition to get recycling trash bins placed around the quad area of campus.

“Basically, we came together to look at the waste here. There are no recycling bins outside on campus,” said Cameron Yee of CAUSE, or Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy. Yee helped spearhead the effort with Hueneme High teacher Harmony Lane and Gustavo de Haro of CAUSE.

Teresa Vasquez, 14, and Brenda Velasco, 14, were the green auditors and Earth Day planning leaders, heading up a group of 36 students in analyzing the school’s energy usage and recommending more efficient practices.

Vasquez said she got involved with the Green Team because she was tired of the trash that accumulates during each lunch period.

“I want to make the school better and help it not to have a lot of trash that the birds take out to the ocean,” Vasquez said.

She then ran after fellow students, telling them, “don’t throw that on the ground,” as kids tossed the leafy tops from the organic carrots. She directed her classmates to the marked containers in the center of the quad where students were encouraged to separate their paper waste from organic waste as they finished their lunches.

Andrew Walker, 15, quickly picked up his trash, saying he supports the cleanup efforts.

“It makes the environment better,” he said.

English teacher Lane was having the students sign petitions for recycling containers at school.

“We are hoping to get a grant to bring recycling to the school,” she said, adding that 400 signatures are needed to submit with the grant application.

Yee said the school is applying for an Ocean Guardian School Grant through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He said the Thursday event was the result of an audit of the school’s trash and energy usage.

Yee said of the 700 pounds of waste generated each day through classroom trash, breakfast and lunch, team members found a lot of food was being thrown out. Supporters are hoping to have the school district consider purchasing more locally grown food.

Jay Duncan, recycling manager for the city of Oxnard, gave students pointers on what is recyclable.

“We’ve found that teaching the youth can have a lot of influence on the households,” he said.

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