Jason Isennock turns trash into art, and turns trash into cash. To the 9-year-old Timonium boy, recycling is a game that has paid off -- with a trip to a Central American rain forest.
Jason left Saturday for Costa Rica, where he will search the jungle for wildlife, honing his appreciation for environmental concerns. The fourth-grader from Timonium Elementary School is one of five youngsters from the United States and Canada to win a trip in a competition sponsored by a beauty products company.
Jason learned of the contest this year while getting a haircut at Image Is in Cockeysville. Good Friday 1995 was a day off school -- and a rainy day at that -- so Jason and his 6-year-old sister, Jenna, worked on their entries.
With the help of his mother, Julie, he cut pieces of cereal boxes into the shape of the continents and pasted them on a cardboard box. A Cheerios box was snipped into the shape of North America; a box of Alpha-Bits was cut to resemble Asia.
Letters were cut from the boxes to spell out his message: "No matter where you live, it all means the same. Recycle, recycle, it's a world-wide game."
Jenna's entry made it to the state finals, and Jason's won at the national level of the Little Green Creative Arts Project, a contest sponsored by Sebastian International. Company spokeswoman Lara Sachs said the trip is designed to give the youngsters a chance to appreciate the beautiful, but threatened, rain forest.
The trip, she said, would "make them more aware of the circumstances that are going to affect them and their children."
To raise spending money, Jason and his family collected 413 pounds of aluminum cans, and cashed them in for $206. Jason, who will make the trip with his father, Ray, was looking forward to a boat ride in search of turtles.
On Friday, he located Costa Rica on his winning entry and said, "I'm going right on the Cheerio."