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Litter leads to learning
Project opens eyes, minds at Matt Elementary
Trash WEB 1
Matt Elementary students Warren Walker, left, Zack Moore and Garrett Moore check out trash they helped collect Saturday with classmates. - photo by Autumn Vetter


Matt Elementary students marveled at the random objects they found while picking up trash on the side of roads near their school.

Cigarette butts, tires, a coffee mug, wire and a container of tuna salad were among the items that filled dozens of trash bags Saturday afternoon.

Fifth-grader Joey Gross considered where the trash had come from, too.

“It seems like we did this,” she said. “It felt good [to clean up] for the environment.”

Fourth- and fifth-grade HORIZONS students at Matt, along with their siblings and parents, spent precious weekend hours collecting garbage as part of an ongoing environmental effort.

Teacher Debi Carnaroli said the “coolest thing” about the project is that her students organized it.

Fifth-grader Alayna Daws played a big part in launching the local cleanup project.

“I wanted to do this to help the environment,” Daws said. “I thought a lot of people throw trash out here … and it’s good to help the community and the animals.”

She wanted to hold the cleanup as part of the Disney Planet Challenge, which is described as a national “project-based learning environmental competition.”

Students submit a digital portfolio of their work for the contest, which awards cash prizes, gifts or trips to winning schools and students.

On Saturday, the group of about 40 cleaned nearly a mile of roadside along Matt Highway and Nicholson and Old Federal roads.

Another cleanup is planned for the spring, as are other environmental activities in conjunction with the competition.

The class coordinated with Keep Forsyth County Beautiful for information and supplies for its cleaning effort.