Niles High School Key Club creates Green Committee for environmental service

NILES – A Niles High School junior has spearheaded efforts to improve the environment inside and outside the school through the Niles Key Club.

A highway cleanup, school cleanup efforts and new in-school recycling program are some of the changes the club’s Green Committee has already made at the high school.

“We have done various ecology and environment-centered activities in the past, but Stuart Lundberg had an idea this year to organize a committee, thus the Green Committee was born,” said Leona Hein, Niles High School online facilitator and the Key Club’s advisor.

Niles High School once had an Environment Club, which has gone by the wayside in recent years.

“We had a lot of restrictions, and I wanted to do something that would make a difference,” Lundberg said about beginning the school year under COVID-19 precautions.

The Green Committee has between five to 10 active members each week who go around and help clean up the high school every Friday and collect papers in the recycling bins.

“It’s been a big success so far, and we really feel like we are making a difference,” Lundberg said.

The Key Club’s past efforts were able to fund its new ones this year.

“The Key Club had remaining funds from over the years. We have done various fundraisers,” Lundberg said. “We bought 40 black recycling bins with lids on them, plus labels. We are able to recycle paper and clear plastic bottles.”

The school already had a large recycling bin ready for the collections that Lundberg said was not being used.

One of the outdoor activities included doing adopt-a-highway cleanups, including around the clover-leaf interchange on the 31 Bypass and Niles-Buchanan Road.

“Last year, we also took a quick trip to walk the trail at McCoy Creek in Buchanan to do a little trash pickup,” Hein said. “I have to say that this kind of project is ideal for us during the COVID-19 restrictions as we can work together while still practicing social distancing and wearing masks.”

For Hein, she is looking to the future to ensure the Green Committee will continue, as the junior and senior members will graduate within the next year.
“The committee has been a really nice addition to the other service projects the Key Club participates in,” she said. “I hope it continues to grow.”

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