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Amador Valley environmental club wins statewide recycling award

Students helped lead waste audit of all 15 PUSD campuses earlier this year

Budding environmentalists from the Amador Valley High School Local Leaders of the 21st Century Club were recently recognized for their good green deeds by receiving the prestigious Next Generation Recycler Award.

Last week, officers from the club attended the California Resource Recovery Association annual conference in Rancho Mirage and accepted the award, which is "specifically designed to promote the next generation of recyclers or zero-wasters in California," according to Monica Devincenzi, Republic Services and 2019 conference program co-chair.

"It is awarded to an individual young person or youth group that sets themselves apart from their peers in promoting waste prevention, recycling, composting, zero waste or buying recycled," Devincenzi said in a statement.

Pleasanton Garbage Service nominated the students for their "help with waste audits of a full day's lunch waste at every school from Jan. 5 to Feb. 13, 2019" as part of enacting the Pleasanton Unified School District's integrated waste management policy.

"During those six weeks, club members helped students and staff at 9 elementary, 3 middle and 3 high schools audit over 2,300 lbs. of trash, recycling and organics," the company said in their nomination letter. "They worked closely with Pleasanton Garbage Service to ensure they could advise all PUSD schools on what items were recyclable and compostable."

Former club vice president Bryan Luo, now a freshman at UCLA, and several other past officers thanked PGS for the nomination, as well as club adviser and local nonprofit organization Go Green Initiative founder Jill Buck, "who connected us with (adults in our community), establishing multigenerational solidarity -- an environment where adults and students are all connected -- which was really crucial to the success of our project."

Local Leaders is a program run through the Go Green Initiative that aims to help high school students understand how critical infrastructure such as energy, food, water and waste are shaped and maintained by local public policies and industries. Students host town hall meetings with local stakeholders to learn more about how these systems operate in their backyard, visit system infrastructures and share their findings in videos, photos, essays and speeches. They also earn scholarships and community service hours through their involvement.

More information about the Local Leaders program is available at www.GoGreenInitiative.org.

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