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Going Green: Park Forest Elementary Among Honorees for Recycling Efforts

by on November 14, 2014 7:00 AM

Donnan Stoicovy couldn’t believe her ears.

As the principal of Park Forrest Elementary, Stoicovy has always preached recycling to her students. Two years ago, however, it was her students who brought an idea to her. 

“I have a group called the small-school group that I meet with on a monthly basis,” Stoicovy says. “They started talking about a question. How can we reduce the amount of waste so that we become a zero waste school? 

While it has yet to reach that goal, Park Forest Elementary was honored for its recycling efforts on Thursday along with 59 other local organizations and businesses.

The awards were presented by the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority and the Borough of State College during a luncheon at Celebration Hall.

Although both mayor Elizabeth Goreham and CCRR executive director Joanne Safer spoke during the ceremony, it was Stoicovy’s speech about the efforts of Park Forest Elementary’s students that drew the most interest.

For Park Forest Elementary, trying to become a zero waste school has included composting food, reducing the amounts of paper towels used and working with Penn State students to determine how many trash cans the school needs.

When speaking to the audience, Stoicovy praised the dedication of both the students that helped start the initiative and the new ones that continue it now.

“This generation, a small collective group of people is really making a difference in our world,” Stoicovy said. “Listen to the messages that children are sharing with you because they really are making a difference.”

Two people who were especially inspired by Stoicovy and Park Forest Elementary were Marissa Hockenberry and Angela Ward of Harrison's wine and catering.

Hockenberry and Ward share something in common with the school in that they were being honored for their work with composting. Over the past year, Harrison's has participated in a composting program with the borough while also using 100 percent compostable plates and utensils. They also offer returnable service trays in order to be completely sustainable.

Stoicovy's presentation had the pair already thinking about ways to further improve their recycling efforts.

“The power point presentation that was continually going was really awesome and we were writing down ideas constantly about what we were seeing,” Ward said. “The goal of zero waste is pretty spectacular.”

Afterwards, almost everyone in attendance could be seen talking and bouncing ideas off of each other.

One of them was Brad Fey of Fest Zero, who this summer was in charge recycling efforts during The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts.

In order to reduce waste at such a large event with so many people, Fey worked with vendors to boost the amount of  compostable products being sold while reducing items such as styrofoam. 

Not only did Fey enjoy speaking with people working for other organizations, he also said he would like to see even more companies honored next year.

"It’s really important and I try to do it myself," Fey said of recycling. "It would be cool to see the room double and more businesses be in here next year.” 

Fey's sentiment was shared by Mayor Goreham, who said she would like Centre County to become synonymous with recycling and green behavior.

In order for that to happen, Goreham said more organizations need to begin thinking the same way the students at Park Forest have been for years. 

“Zero waste is really our goal,” Goreham said. “I would like to see it get bigger. I’d like to be known for this, being a zero waste county. The community really seems to be progressing on a path of more recycling and more awareness."

A complete list of the Centre County Green Business Partners award winners appears below:

Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania

Bald Eagle Jr/Sr High School

Bellefonte Area High School

Bellefonte Elementary School

Caspian SPA

Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology (CPI)

Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority

Centre Region Council of Governments

Coldwell Banker University Realty

Corl Street Elementary School

Dante's Restaurants, Inc.

DEP ‐ Moshannon District Mining Operations

Easterly Parkway Elementary School

Ferguson Township Elementary School

*Foxdale Village Retirement Community

CLC Charter School

Delta Program – SCASD

Fest Zero

Grace Lutheran Church; Grace Lutheran Preschool & Kindergarten

Grace Prep High School

Gray's Woods Elementary School

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Centre County ReStore

Harrison’s Wine Grill & Catering

Hoag's Catering

Houserville Elementary School

Howard Elementary School

K‐B Offset Printing, Inc.

Lemont Elementary School

Mount Nittany Elementary School

Mountaintop Area Elementary School

Nittany Christian School

Nittany Valley Charter School

Our Lady of Victory School

*Park Forest Elementary School

Penn State Outreach Green Team

Penn State Interfraternity Council (IFC)

Penns Valley Area School District

Pick Research Solutions, Inc.

Philipsburg‐Osceola Area Senior High School

Radio Park Elementary School

*Restek Corporation

SCASD's Agricultural Science Program

School of Hospitality Management ‐ Penn State

State College Area School District’s Food Service

State College Area School District’s Physical Plant

State College Borough

State College Presbyterian Church

State College Spikes

State of the Art, Inc.

Straley Veterinary Associates

The Childcare Center @ Hort Woods

The Goddard School

The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel

The State College Friends School

The Tavern Restaurant

Videon Central, Inc.

Village Eatinghouse

Wingate Elementary School

Weis Markets

Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania Charter School

*Denotes Emerald Award Winner



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Matt Allibone is a intern. He's a Penn State senior, studying print journalism. Matt is a native of Delran, N.J.
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