Students at Elkridge Elementary School soon may compose recycling songs, collect telephone books or build a compost bin at their school, in a new program called Recycling Rangers.
Created by the county Department of Public Works and the Elkridge Area Jaycees, the program that began Monday is intended to teach children the details of effective recycling.
"The school has done a very good job in teaching them the basics of recycling," said Richard Keller, chairman of the Elkridge Area Jaycees' recycling committee.
But the program, aimed at children ages 3 to 11, "will reinforce the message they're already learning about recycling."
The Elkridge educational project is a partnership of the school system, county government, Jaycees and businesses, including BFI Inc., an Elkridge recycling firm.
Participating students sign a pledge agreeing to comply with the program's "Four R's," which stand for reduce, reuse, recycle and respond.
Recycling Rangers also are encouraged to complete projects that promote recycling and waste reduction, such as creating posters, performing plays or writing articles for a student newspaper.
"By having them making posters, doing plays, and using their talents, the messages are reinforced further," Mr. Keller said.
Organizers plan to introduce the program at Rockburn Elementary later this month, and eventually expand it to middle and high schools, where students can use it to help fulfill a community service requirement for graduation.
Program organizers are concentrating on Elkridge Elementary, where students are beginning to plan their projects.
"We're hoping teachers will teach parents, and fifth-graders will teach kindergartners" how to recycle, said Betsy McMillion, the county's recycling program coordinator.
Further information is available by calling the county's Recycling Office at 313-2388.