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Earth Day presents opportunity for children to learn

Janelle and Jolene Maloney, 7-year-old twins, celebrate Earth Day April 22 by picking up trash in Bonney Lake with their mom, Lynn Maloney. - To view or buy photos go to www.courierherald.com    Photo by Judy Halone
Janelle and Jolene Maloney, 7-year-old twins, celebrate Earth Day April 22 by picking up trash in Bonney Lake with their mom, Lynn Maloney.
— image credit: To view or buy photos go to www.courierherald.com Photo by Judy Halone

It didn’t take much time for Lynn Maloney to practice what she’d taught April 22 – Earth Day – as a substitute teacher at Wickersham School of Discovery.

“We talked about the earth with the students and I asked them for suggestions,” Maloney said.

Her 7-year-old twin daughters, Janelle and Jolene, attend the school and had similar discussions in their classroom. The talk continued on their ride home.

“We all shared about our day,” Maloney said. “We thought about the ideas and their capacities for accomplishing them.”

Some of her inspiration came from an unlikely source: litter scattered along state Route 410 between Bonney Lake and Sumner.

“I drive down 410 hill all the time and I see all this trash,” she said. “This is supposed to be the Evergreen State – it’s too bad.”

Once their car neared their neighborhood, Maloney knew what they could do to help.

“We drive by litter on the side of the road all the time,” she said. “We always complain about how ugly it gets. So this time, we decided to do something about it.”

That “something” equated to Maloney, Janelle and Jolene each donning a pair of heavy rubber gloves and carrying garbage bags. They scanned a ditch in the 22000 block of 120th Street East, across the street from the Pierce County gravel pit.

It took approximately 30 minutes for Maloney and her daughters to pick up the trash – plastic water bottles, paper, Styrofoam cups and cigarette butts. By the time they’d reached the ditch’s end, she estimated her bag’s weight at more than 10 pounds. Janelle and Jolene each carried full grocery bags as well, she said.

Others took note of their efforts and shared approving looks – from a couple out on a speed-walk to drivers slowing down. One curious van driver stopped to ask about their deeds.

Maloney said the efforts to clean up the small portion of roadway shouldn’t be limited to Earth Day.

“If we did this once or twice a month, it could really make a difference,” she said.

Reach Judy Halone at jhalone@courierherald.com or 360-802-8210.

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