Park City Day School students work on project to propose county-wide plastic bag ban
April 21, 2018
A few months ago, a group of seventh-grade students at Park City Day School hardly knew that a plastic grocery bag ban existed in Park City, let alone the reasoning behind it. Now, they are proposing a county-wide ban on plastic bags.
The multi-disciplinary project all started when the students visited the county landfill with their science and government teacher, Robin McGinn.
"We saw lots of plastic bags and we were thinking about how we can get involved with helping to eliminate those plastic bags," said Kyra Atkinson, one of the 13 students involved in the project.
After the trip, the students spent three months studying the negative effects of the bags on the planet, raising money to design their own reusable bags, surveying businesses and individuals about the current plastic bag ban and speaking at Summit County council meetings to propose extending the ban.
The students said that they enjoyed the project and learned a lot from it. For one, they learned how to contact business owners of grocery stores and ask them about their thoughts on the ban. McGinn said that the students were nervous before making the calls. Courtney Lemons, one of the students in the survey group, said that it felt good to take some action.
Mia Price and Sarah Geffen were in the group in charge of presenting their proposition to the County Council.
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"It felt good to be heard," Geffen said.
Most of all, the students learned how complicated it can be to get a new ordinance put in place, they said.
McGinn, the teacher leading the project, said that she loves doing projects where students get involved and take their learning outside the classroom.
"This is something they remember and take with them into the future," she said. "The day-to-day assignments, you forget all that. But working on something really hard for a long time and overcoming challenges and getting to the point where you've succeeded … that is what you really remember."
The students agreed that they did feel accomplished after they presented everything they had learned and done during the Park City Day School's STEM Symposium on April 3, especially when they were able to hand out reusable bags they helped to design. They worked with local companies Stardust Sustainables and Mountain Flower Apparel to make the bags.
"I liked raising awareness and informing people on how we can help," Atksinson said.
The students said that they hope to stay involved in the issue and watch to see if the ban comes up in city or county discussions again. Though they did not reach their goal of having the county say that they would put the plastic bag ban on an agenda to discuss, the students said they are prepared to keep fighting.
"It's a really big problem, and now we're all trying to fix it," Lemons said.
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