For students at Fort Dodge Senior High, one thing has gotten a little bit easier this school year - recycling during their Dodger Time classroom.
Bobbie Westergaard, who teaches French and German, has been working to make the program grow.
"It's been expanded to include plastic such as water bottles," she said.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Fort Dodge Senior High School teacher Bobbie Westergaard shows off the signs that will be placed on a pair of recycling tubs that are part of an expanded program at the school that now includes plastics and comingled paper. They were designed and made by students.
The prior program only included office paper and newsprint, as well as shredded paper. In addition, it had to be sorted before being picked up by a company from Jefferson.
While it did help get recycling going, the new program, which takes the material to the Webster County Recycling Center, is more user-friendly.
She said that all paper can now be mixed together in the collection bins in the classroom.
She's encouraging all her students to help with the program.
"I try to encourage the students to take charge of it with their own Dodger Times," she said.
In addition to boxes in the classrooms, she said that the school has purchased several large white tubs that the students can dump the full boxes of paper or plastic bottles into.
She also got some help from the art department.
"The students created signs for the white containers," she said.
As part of the project, her own Dodger Time class learned about the larger issue of waste in the environment and how reusing material benefits the environment.
"We watched a film about the Pacific Trash Vortex and about how Nike is taking plastic bottles and recycling them into professional football jerseys," she said.
Westergaard said that reaction from most of her students has been favorable.
The local destination for the material is an advantage too.
"We thought it would be better to do something local," she said. "We could do more."
It's also easier for the material to be collected. The paper and plastic is picked up at the same time as the steel cans and cardboard.
"They're here anyway," she said.
Through the school, the other staff and students are responding well to the new program.
The school may see another benefit, as well.
"It will probably lower our garbage costs," she said.