NYA Environmental Club Reducing, Reusing, & Recycling

Yarmouth, Maine, April 18, 2023: The North Yarmouth Academy (NYA) Environmental Club’s latest undertaking revamps the campus recycling initiative. Until this year, the club members collected recycling across campus and then drove it all to the Yarmouth waste management station themselves. Through an NYA Parents’ Association (NYAPA) grant, the club invested in a “Silver Bullet,” a large recycling dumpster, that sits behind Russell Hall. The program now incorporates the student jobs program and leverages the NYA Environmental Club members to achieve a nearly seamless integration of recycling into school life.

“As a student, being able to have recycling back on campus and being able to do our part to protect the environment is such an amazing feeling,” said NYA Environmental Club member Ethan Smith ’25 (North Yarmouth). “I’m so lucky to have gotten to work so hands-on with the program. I believe that by doing simple acts like recycling, we are actively helping to keep our planet healthy and preserve it for generations to come.”

Katrina VanHuizen from EcoMaine speaks to the NYA student body. February 2023

The club partnered with EcoMaine to increase the recycling efforts by educating and encouraging classmates, faculty, staff, and visitors to identify and properly dispose of recyclable items. EcoMaine Representative Katrina VenHuizen spoke to the student body during a Friday Forum (Middle and Upper School meeting) back in February. She explained the process the items go through at their facilities and how they are recycled into usable material.

“It is more than I think anyone of us was expecting,” said Upper School Biology Teacher and Environmental Club Facilitator, Bryce Hach. “It is great to know that this isn’t going into a landfill. EcoMaine has been a very helpful partner with us. These kinds of efforts require collaboration, both on campus and off. We want to entrench recycling for our students from being this new thing on campus to just being a normal part of school operations.”

Smith and his fellow environmental club members have wholeheartedly adopted the “Think Globally. Act Locally” mantra in all their projects, past, present, and future. “The NYA Environmental Club knows that recycling alone will not save our planet,” said Smith. “We are proud of what we have accomplished with the recycling program so far, but this is only the beginning. We are working hard to restart NYA’s composting program through Garbage to Gardens, and we are in the early stages of a plan to put solar panels on the gym roof when it gets redone sometime in the next few years. The support from the NYA community on all of our projects has been incredibly meaningful to us, and we are happy that the community feels the same way that we do and is willing to put in the work to help make NYA a more environmentally sustainable campus.”

The club’s last project raised enough funds to successfully convert the entire campus to LED and energy efficient lighting. This made an instant significant impact on the
Academy’s energy usage and cost.