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Vermont Catholic school takes responsibility to care for earth seriously


Maddyson Holmes, 10, Kahryn Phelps, 10, and Ava Shinners, 8, fill bottles in late February at a special water fountain at the Bishop John A. Marshall School in Morrisville, Vt. The fountain is designed to refill water bottles. (CNS photo/Cori Fugere Urban, Vermont Catholic)

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MORRISVILLE, Vt. (CNS) -- Earth Day 2017 will be observed throughout the world April 22, but for the students, faculty and staff at Bishop John A. Marshall School in Morrisville in the Burlington Diocese, every school day is Earth Day.

That's because they have taken seriously their responsibility to care for the earth and have, over the past couple of years, significantly increased their reduce, reuse and recycle efforts and added composting to those caring endeavors.

Two years ago, Bishop Marshall School conducted its first trash audit. "We safely sorted and weighed the cafeteria and kitchen trash as well as trash from three classrooms, separating food scraps, trash, compost items and recyclables. As you can imagine, this task was not fun, but it was necessary," Heather Gentle, food services director, told Vermont Catholic, Burlington's diocesan publication.

Only 1 percent of what was thrown away was recycled; nothing was composted.

"It was time for a new plan for the 2015-16 school year," Gentle said. So with the help of the fifth-grade class, the school joined an environmental leadership opportunity for youth, the Teens Reaching Youth Team, through the 4-H Teen and Leadership Program and the regional solid waste management district.

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