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Surplus trailer finds new life as ‘Green Education Station’

Hall County uses extra space to host students of all ages

POSTED: March 22, 2011 12:05 a.m.
SARA GUEVARA/The Times

Recyclable material is piled high on a table Monday inside the "Green Education Station" at the Hall County Recycling Center in Gainesville.

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The Hall County Recycling Center recently opened a new space for young people to learn about recycled materials and ways they can make a difference.

The spacious trailer located outside the facility, known as the “Green Education Station,” was surplus property from the Hall County Schools district last fall.

“What’s great is we don’t have to worry about distractions and we can have a place to ourselves,” said Rick Foote, Hall County’s natural resources coordinator.

Foote has given educational presentations about recycling for several years, but they were usually held in the center’s front office.

The former area was cramped and tours were often disrupted by telephone calls, he said.

“This building was not originally designed to be a recycling center,” Foote said, adding that it was used for poultry feed storage as well as a county warehouse at one point.

In 1992, the building was retrofitted into a recycling building. Foote said most recycling facilities he’s toured were designed with an educational center in mind.

“We didn’t have the luxury to have a ground-up design,” he said.

However, the meets its purpose, Foote said, and it can comfortably fit more students.

An environmental science class from Gainesville State College used the trailer Monday, as Foote talked with them about how recycled materials are used for everyday products.

Dawn Drumtra said she was initially worried about bringing a larger size class in for a presentation. The front office was suitable when she brought six students, but not for 15.

“I was really glad to see this was available,” she said, of the new space.

The students were also impressed with the trailer, which includes an area for Powerpoint presentations.

“I think it’s a good size, it makes sense for everyone,” Gainesville State College sophomore Olivia Echols said.

Foote said schools are emphasizing recycling in their curriculum, and it’s also part of the statewide standards to offer a recycling unit in third grade.

Third-grade classes from Mount Vernon Elementary School visit for presentations each year, and at one point, the staff managed to fit 60 students in the front office.

While the new space could probably handle 60, Foote said they’ll bring in smaller groups this year, just to be safe.

He adds that he’s happy to have a space of his own — free of noise — to teach.

“It’s dedicated for the purpose of education and we don’t have to share it for other uses,” he said.



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