Westlake High School

Recycling at Westlake High School is done with the help of the school’s AP Environmental Science and AP Biology students, as well as the WHS Earth Club.

The Environmental Science and Biology students collect bottles and cans daily from the recycling bins located in the quad and other common areas. The work is spread out; each class is responsible for three bins, which makes it more manageable for everyone. In addition, every Wednesday between six and eight members of the WHS Earth Club meet during the lunch hour to collect bottles and cans from the recycling bins in each classroom.

The students who do all of the collecting and gathering of bottles and cans also take them to the recycling center to redeem them for cash. The money generated by Environmental Science and Biology students is going toward the school’s butterfly garden, while the money generated by the Earth Club is used towards various projects around school, including expanding the recycling program by buying more recycling bins, planting a native succulent garden at the school, or donating money to environmental organizations which serve a greater global purpose.

The butterfly garden was conceived by WHS Science teacher Jennifer Boyd. Boyd’s AP Biology and Environmental Science classes raise caterpillars, measuring their mass and mass of their food over time to see how much energy moves from one trophic level to the next. When the caterpillars have turned into butterflies the students release them. The butterfly garden provides a place on campus where students can continue to watch them complete their life cycle.

Boyd has noticed that students even started to empty partially full water bottles into the garden before they recycle them so they don’t have to waste water. “Students are starting to see that recycling is one way to help the environment, and that everything is connected. If they all work together to do one thing like recycling, they see that it can make a bigger difference.”

Contact: Jennifer Boyd, jboyd@conejousd.org