Summit Recycling Project recognizes efforts of locals |

Summit Recycling Project recognizes efforts of locals

FRISCO – On Tuesday, April 22 – Earth Day – Holly Kingsley, the Summit Recycling Project’s education coordinator, presented awards for efforts to recycle and preserve the environment.

In a small gathering at the Old Town Hall, Kingsley presented the Green Scene Awards for 2003, 4-inch discs made of recycled green glass.

Wendy Blasingame, known to her kindergarten students at Breckenridge Elementary as “Miss Wendy,” received the Organic Fertilizer Teacher Award. While other kindergarten classes might have gerbils or goldfish as pets, Blasingame’s class’s beloved pets are worms. The youngsters offer up piles of food scraps, and over the course of the year, the students watch the pile of waste food disappear as the worms turn the scraps into valuable compost – providing a visual lesson in how natural recycling works. The kids love their squiggly pets and clamor to take them home on spring break. After checking with the parents, “I let some of them take worms home so they can start projects of their own when the school year is over,” Blasingame said. The teacher is also working with the curriculum committee to include ecology recycling and environmental education in the Breckenridge school education plan.

Robin Koppen, an employee of the Frisco Public Works Department, noticed the town’s yard and gardening waste was being sent to the landfill. She researched composting at high altitude, and with her supervisor’s blessing began composting the refuse, using cast-off pallets that would have found their way to the landfill as well. Kingsley presented Koppen with the Essential Earthy Employee Award for her composting efforts and for “thinking green” and encouraging her coworkers to recycle.

The Green Machine Public Works Award went to the town of Breckenridge for proving the naysayers wrong and successfully using biodiesel in seven of the town’s vehicles. Biodiesel is composed of vegetable oil and glycerine and burns much cleaner than conventional diesel fuel. As Councilmember Jim Lamb and Assistant Public Works Director Dan Bell accepted the award on behalf of the town, Bell told the group the town is considering converting the entire fleet of 47 vehicles to the 80-20 blend of biodiesel, which could save the town 20,000 gallons of petroleum each year. Breckenridge maintains a proactive approach to saving the environment by requiring the town’s employees to recycle, maintaining a program in which staff and residents work together to clean up the town and riverside, and it is planning to purchase an electric car for the parks department.

An avid recycler, Alma resident Dave McKie applauded the award recipients, exclaiming, “No way,” when he heard his name called for the Julia Butterfly Individual Achievement Award. McKie is known in the Alma area for bringing his own eating utensils to fundraisers and community dinners to reduce the need for disposable table service. “It was really hard to keep him from bringing his own plate here. I had to keep telling him he didn’t need to do that,” wife Lori Whipple said, laughing.

The Julia Butterfly Individual Achievement Award is given to a deserving individual who helps to remind, teach and assist others in “being green.” It is named for Julia Butterfly Hill, who lived in a 1,000-year-old redwood for two years to prevent its destruction.

McKie has been known to pull items out of trash bins to be recycled and even repairs found items and delivers them to thrift stores. Whipple said they never make a trip to Summit County (Park County has no recycling center) without a carload of items to be recycled.

The Summit Recycling Project was first founded in 1976 by Tim McClure to promote waste reduction in Summit County. McClure was killed in an avalanche in 1985. Friends Bob and Rose Wentzell revived the organization in 1989, and the project has grown even since.

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