An Inchelium school student picks up garbage during Earth Day.

INCHELIUM – Is the community here getting cleaner?

Earth Day organizers believe so.

More than 100 bags of garbage and recyclables were hauled away after the school’s 21st Earth Day Friday. Each year, the students and community members are seeing less garbage, according to the organizing committee of Teresa Shaffer, Juanita Warren and Mary Baird.

Younger children cleaned around the outside of the school, while the rest were in groups all around the community.

Forty bags of aluminum cans were donated, 55 bags of garbage were picked up by students and 25 more bags were turned in by community members. Also, two truckloads of scrap metal were hauled off.

On top of that, the kindergarten through fifth grade students brought in more than 8,000 plastic bottles and jugs. The fifth grade won the annual contest with 1,941.

Shaffer praised the senior class for their efforts during the event.

“They did a bang up job on helping to pick up the bags, bring water, and bringing more bags and gloves,” she said. “They worked hard. And they did so good. They didn't complain.”

Poster contest winners were: Lily Boyd, Sahar Al-Nesayan and Shalena Jack from the kindergarten class; second graders Sinnae Bylilly, Shantara Ranalla and Colee Pakootas; third graders Hailey Lazard, Taylor Signor and Lori Desautel; fourth graders Vivian Lazard, Justin Hoffman and Dorthy Seymour; fifth grade’s Leah Mason, Jaleece Meusy and Gary Clark; sixth grade’s Kaylee Andrews, Hailey Peone and Elizabeth Finley; and seniors Cheyenne Agan and Joey Rosario.

Shaffer stressed the importance of the event with a hypothetical statement.

“What would our town look like if we didn't do it?” she said. “If we hadn't been picking up garbage and recycling for the last 21 years?”

Next year, Shaffer hopes to challenge students to gather plastic all year in an effort to increase recycling in the community.

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