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Mother Nature rolled out the green carpet under brilliant blue skies for an annual Earth Patrol celebration at West Zephyrhills Elementary School…and, wow, do they ever have a reason to celebrate.

More than 30 parents and friends gathered with students and staff to celebrate the schools recycling and conservation efforts. Thanks to the help of several local sponsors and Herb Roshell, who is the schools Plant Manager and Conservation Liaison, the attendees were treated to a barbeque complete with burgers, hot dogs, beans, chips, cookies, and drinks.

The Earth Patrol program was implemented district-wide by Conservation and Recycling Operations to assist with conservation efforts at schools. Earth Patrol’s success relies on its participants. Teams of students perform a variety of weekly activities throughout the school such as: collect recyclables, create commercials and announcements to encourage conservation, monitor water conservation efforts, plant and maintain gardens, promote litter prevention, visit classrooms to monitor for computers, lights and appliances left on, and to look for recyclables in the waste can and trash in recycling containers.

According to Principal, Wendy Lane, “Our students take great pride in ensuring that they do their part in taking care of the world for future generations”, adding, “It excites me that our student are taking on leadership roles at such a young age”.

“Great pride” certainly sums up the attitude of this Earth Patrol team. So far this school year (2012/13) West Zephyrhills Elementary has collected and removed from the solid waste stream: 2760 - metal cans; 18,720 – plastic bottles; 2227 lbs. – household batteries; and 29,120 lbs. – paper/cardboard. These great efforts not only helped the environment, but saved the district thousands of dollars in hauling and disposal costs. Awesome Job!!

To learn more about the Earth Patrol program, visit the District’s Conservation and Recycling Operations website @ {page_836} or call Tony Bartenope @ 813-794-7936.