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Pride group says solving trash woes starts with children

February 18, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Educating children not to litter could be the best way to solve trash problems in the future, an official with Berkeley Community Pride said Thursday.

Ron Gunderson, the new president of the anti-litter organization, was introduced Thursday to members of the Berkeley County Commission and outlined the group's goals.

Gunderson, a dentist who served in the U.S. Army, said the group still will focus on picking up litter, but needs to get involved in other activities as well.

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Picking up trash isn't enough, he said.

"That doesn't solve the problem. We can't go out and pick up all the litter on all the highways," he said.

Focusing on teaching children not to litter is key, he said. The group plans to give an award for environmental projects during science fairs and also wants to become involved with Earth Day celebrations in the county's schools.

He warned the commissioners that the group might ask for funding in two years, which would enable volunteers to do a countywide clean-up.

As much as $25,000 or more likely will be sought, he said.

Bill Stubblefield, a member of the group, said last year that 160 volunteers picked up trash along various roads in the spring and again in the fall.

Altogether, the volunteers collected more than 18 tons of trash, and more than 100 large items such as tires, mattresses and refrigerators.

Another 8 or 9 tons of phone books, magazines and similar items were collected to be recycled, Stubblefield said.

On the education front, Stubblefield said the group will continue its "grocery bag art" program. Paper grocery bags are donated from area stores and distributed to third- and fourth-grade classrooms, where the students decorate the bags with anti-litter-related art. The bags are then sent back to the stores, where they can be displayed.

Lastly, Gunderson said he hopes to find a local student interested in marketing to help the group create a Web site and promotional materials.

And, he said, more volunteers always are needed.

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