Living Columns & Blogs

Poster contest incorporates anti-bullying with recycling

Calling all fifth-grade students: The Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority and Weis Markets are sponsoring a poster contest open to all fifth-graders who live in Centre County.

Here’s what students need to do:

▪ Design a poster around the theme “This is How my Buddies and I Recycle.”

▪ Be creative; incorporate recyclable materials if you like. There is no size or layout requirement.

▪ When you are finished, take your poster to your school office by Oct. 21.

Posters will be collected from Centre County schools on Oct. 24 and judged by a panel of community members. Judges will select 12 posters, which will be made into a 2017 calendar that will be available to students. Our local Weis Market stores will have the calendars available to the public in December.

The artists who create the 12 winning posters will receive a $25 gift card to Weis Markets and a Buddy Bench for their school.

Buddy Benches have become a popular addition to playgrounds across the country. A Buddy Bench is a simple idea to foster friendship on the playground. Children who are feeling lonely or left out can sit on the Buddy Bench as a means to let others know they are looking for a friend to play with. Trex makes each Buddy Bench from 10,000 recycled plastic grocery bags.

Once the winning posters are chosen, the students will be contacted and invited to an awards ceremony, which will be held at the Bellefonte Weis Market on Buckaroo Drive on Nov. 15 to celebrate “America Recycles Day.”

Buddy Benches will be delivered to the schools in the spring.

Additional information regarding the contest can be found at

Park Forest Elementary School students honored at White House

Speaking of schools and recycling, I would be remiss if I did not mention the accomplishments of the Park Forest Elementary School Zero Waste Team. Four members of the ZWT — Adam Cooper, Adam Lieb, Robert Rothrock and Elijah Snyder — were invited to the White House last month to receive the President’s Environmental Youth Award.

The award was the culmination of various awards and honors the team received throughout 2016. Their efforts were recognized by the Chesapeake Bay Consortium, the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania, the Pa. Departments of Conservation and Natural Resources, Education and Environmental Protection as well as the Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority.

A Park Forest Elementary video depicting the ZWT program placed first in the 9th annual PROP Recycling FilmFest in July. The video can be viewed at PROP’s YouTube Channel or at

Park Forest Elementary School students, staff and faculty have worked hard to successfully divert 85 percent of school waste from the landfill. Their road to becoming a zero waste school speaks to their commitment to being wonderful environmental stewards. We are so very proud their hard work and dedication has led them on the path to the White House.

Amy Schirf is education coordinator for the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority.