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Children learn about littering and recycling

No one is too young to recycle. Auntie Litter can prove it.

“Boys and girls, you’re old enough,” said Betty Stahl, educator for the greater Montgomery area for the Auntie Litter program. “You’re big enough. You are just the right age to help protect the environment.”

Stahl visited Selma elementary schools Tuesday and Wednesday to educate children about the importance of reusing items, reducing waste and recycling.

Dressed in a green striped shirt and blue smock dress with an American flag on the front, Stahl spoke to students as the environmentally friendly Auntie Litter.

The name Auntie Litter serves two purposes.

First, by making the spokeswoman an aunt, that signifies this is a person who loves and cares about the children.

“I love and care about you too, and I love and care about our environment,” Stahl said.

Second, it is a homonym, meaning a word that sounds like another word but is spelled differently.

“Auntie” is meant to resemble the prefix, meaning against. Thus, Auntie Litter is also anti-littering of the land, water and air.

Stahl reminded students of the things they are probably already doing to help the environment, like walking to school or wearing clothes a sibling or cousin has outgrown.

She also encouraged them to remind parents and friends about the importance of recycling.

Pat Mitchell, executive director of the program, created Auntie Litter for Earth Day in 1990 because she has a strong concern for the direction people were taking the environment.

“We needed an Auntie Litter because have an Uncle Sam,” Mitchell said. Her intention is to have Auntie Litter do for the environment what Uncle Sam has done for patriotism.

Cedar Park students Mykhi Ford and Rowshaan Rasberry enjoyed the program and cannot wait to make some of the items Stahl suggested as ways to repurpose recyclables.

“I like the idea to cut the cereal boxes and use it to make a puzzle,” Mykhi said. Stahl suggested students take the front panel of cardboard food boxes and cut the pieces into puzzle shapes.

“I’m going to get a milk bottle and plant a plant in it,” Rowshaan said.

Local sponsors of the event are Council President Pro-Tempore Dr. Cecil Williamson, Ward 1, Councilwoman Susan Keith, Ward 2; Councilwoman Dr. Monica Newton, Ward 3 and Councilman Corey Bowie, Ward 8.

Councilwomen Benjamin and Keith visited the presentation at Cedar Park Elementary on Wednesday.

Benjamin hopes these presentations will encourage students to take home information learned and encourage others.

“I hope that it will start a whole pick up the trash trend because we pick up trash often in Ward 4,” Benjamin said. “To have the young people involved, this may take it a bit further.”