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He may have cardboard for horns and empty plastic water bottles for brains, but that hasn’t stopped the Milby High School mascot from making a big impression on visitors to the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center (4400 W. 18th St., 77092).
Students from that school’s Peace Club decorated a 96-gallon recycling bin from the City of Houston’s Solid Waste Management Department as part of an art contest called “Growing Up Recycling,” and their submission won the $500 first prize.
To build public awareness around recycling, “Charlie the Buffalo”—along with 10 other decorated bins—are currently on display outside the cafeteria at the district’s headquarters.
“Our students are very civic-minded, and this was a great way to create more awareness of the importance of taking care of the environment,” said Milby HS Librarian (and project sponsor) Rowena Verdin. “Last year, our school transformed a car into a buffalo for the Art Car Parade, so we thought we would just do the same thing here. We also learned that buffaloes are an endangered species, so it was perfect.”
Participating schools were challenged to create designs using primarily recycled materials. Milby students used aluminum cans, newspapers, plastic cups, clothing, and other items to create their masterpiece. Everything except the glue, tape, and paint were recycled.
“The major theme of our project was to show that we grow up as responsible adults who are environmentally conscious,” wrote the students in their accompanying essay. “Our club’s purpose is to lessen trash by recycling, so we only used items that were discarded, and instead of throwing them in landfills, we repurposed them.”
The remaining prizes in the contest went to HISD: the Energy Institute placed second and Lee High School placed third; Black, Hamilton, and Marshall middle schools participated, as well as Reagan, Waltrip, and Wheatley high schools, and the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy.