Friday, September 7, 2012
Cindy Murray and her students at Northwestern High School in Albion, Pennsylvania recently won one of three Sea Grant PPCP Stewardship Awards. The students participate in the Junior Pennsylvania Lake Erie Watershed Association (Jr. PLEWA), a group of students from 9 junior and senior high schools. They meet twice a month during the school year and each year they pick an important environmental issue to focus on.
Their goals are to:
- Improve the environment
- Educate the public
- Incorporate service learning
- Develop leadership skills by serving community and mentoring other students
In 2011, the students were very engaged with their selected topic, pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs). After doing research to educate themselves about PPCPs and the effects they have on the environment, they put that knowledge to very good use. Some of their actions included surveying the public, interviewing pharmacists, and educating other students and the public about PPCPs. They also met with local State Representatives and even went to Harrisburg and presented their recommendations to other elected officials from around the state.
They urged lawmakers to introduce legislation to provide consumers with a safe way to get rid of unused pharmaceuticals. Pennsylvania HB2466 was introduced in July 2012. If passed, the bill would require pharmaceutical manufactures to fund medicine take-back programs in Pennsylvania.
The Sea Grant PPCP Stewardship award is not the first time this group has been recognized for their efforts. Thirteen students from Jr. PLEWA won first place in the United States for Project Earth's World Environment Day contest. The contest is a global event that reviews projects aimed at educating communities about environmental issues. The group, which conducted many presentations at schools and conferences including the Great Lakes Northwest Caucus, was recognized for efforts related to research, education and legislation about the use and disposal of PPCPs.
Be sure to check out the video that the students created documenting some of their great work. (Click on the Rx for Action video playlist and select the second video: JrPLEWA PPCP PA.m4v).