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Elementary students rethink recycling at Desert Discovery Center


BARSTOW • Skyline and Cameron elementary third- and fourth-graders left the Desert Discovery Center chanting “Recycle Barstow!” at the Recycle Awareness Program held Thursday.

The students participated in educational and art activities related to recycling including making a mobile out of buttons, old CDs, wire and coat hangers.

“Our kids are really being given so much special individual attention here. They’re having a multisensory experience being stimulated socially, academically, emotionally and intellectually,” substitute teacher Deana Burnham said.

About 300 elementary school children were invited to the recycling program that was a culmination of the Recycle Day contest hosted by the Desert Discovery Center Partnership and city of Barstow.

Lenwood resident Brent Lautzenheiser was runner-up by correctly guessing the closest amount of cans in a brick of 516. Both winners received gift cards to the Tanger Outlets.

“It was based on simple math of weight and volume,” Lautzenheiser said. “I guessed 18 pounds for the package, which in metric weight is not easy to figure out.”

Lautzenheiser is a retired teacher, tutor and sponsor of Lenwood students and said he’s seen many use recycling as a way to earn extra money and buy clothes — or for one student, a laptop.

“In our neighborhood we recycle everything,” he said.

Mayor Joe Gomez, Burrtech Division Manager Tim Williams and Tanger Outlets General Manager Jennifer Rodriguez presented the first-place winner, Stephanie Morris, with her $250 gift card, which preceded the children’s recycling pledge encouraging students to “reduce, reuse, recycle, rethink and react.”

“It’s about being resourceful and the students have that message that is very positive and encouraging,” Desert Discovery Center Director Jane Laraman-Brockhurst said. “It’s fabulous because the city supports this program, and we need to be conscious of conserving our resources and protecting the desert.”

The Desert Discovery Center hosts several programs for youth combining art, science and history education including the Kids Art Club every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a free five-month after-school program for youth ages 8 to 16 years old beginning in January.

“The programs get the kids thinking in other ways and appreciating where they live,” volunteer Priscilla Ray-Blake said. “I wish I had it when I was a kid growing up here.”

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