During an after-school meeting of the Nature Club at the Warren Community School, students started to wonder what they could do to make a difference in the world. Many of the students were concerned with issues of wasted resources and decided to find out why their school was using disposable plastic silverware instead of reusable metal.

After generating a list of questions, seven student representatives met with Storm Hendrickson, food service director for Maine School Administrative District 40. Hendrickson explained to the group that the biggest reason for using plastic instead of metal is that many students were throwing the silverware out in the trash with the rest of their lunch waste.

After learning this, the Nature Club launched a campaign to educate the entire student body about the issue. Posters were made, a letter was sent out through the school newsletter urging parents to discuss with their children the importance of not throwing silverware away, and a “Use, Wash, and ReUse” play was presented to the whole school during an assembly.

The Nature Club students also came up with a system for monitoring the collection of the silverware. Thanks to the Nature Club team, Hendrickson and the hard-working kitchen staff, the Warren Community School third- through sixth-graders are now using metal silverware.

The students in kindergarten through second grade are practicing by collecting their plasticware in hopes of showing that they are also responsible enough to use metal silverware. All of the students and staff are very excited about getting the silverware back.

“Having real silverware rocks!” said one fourth-grader after his lunch period.

For more information, contact Sasha Kutsy, the Quebec-Labrador Foundation’s community learning coordinator, at the Warren Community School at 273-2201.