‘Pick-up Pagosa’s essay contest winners

In order to promote the Green Ribbon Panel on Litter Awareness and Education, an anti-litter task force assembled last year by Pagosa Springs Mayor Ross Aragon, local students from grades five through eight were encouraged to get involved by entering an essay contest. The theme for the entries in the essay contest was “Pick-up Pagosa Country.” The essay entries explained why local litter prevention and/or recycling efforts are important to the area.

Featured below are the winners of the contest:

Maya Novak-Herzog, 1st place, 7th grade.

Plastic is littering the park; cola cans are thrust into the rivers; while perfectly good containers are slammed into trash cans. We need to stop this and we can! We can impact the world in a magnificent way. A perfect example is my mother, the Recycling Queen.

There are many household uses for recycling. My mother recycles almost everything that can be! To begin, my mother saves empty cream cheese and yogurt containers. Then, if she needs a place to store blueberries, strawberries, or any small food item, she will take out the containers and put fruit into them. Voila! A perfect storage place, no wasting created. Next, when making my lunch, my mother never fails in creative ways to hold it. Using an old City Market bag, she carefully places delicious food in it. But if you think that is all the use she can get out of a bag, you’re wrong! Why waste new bags when you can use an old one? During those grocery shopping days, Mom brings previously used bags and insists on stuffing them with groceries.

Recycling and reusing impacts the environment and doesn’t take much trouble at all! While there are many ways to help, we can follow my mother and her wonderful examples.

Devan Monkiewicz, 1st Place, 5th grade.

This colorful fall in Pagosa Springs, I am proposing a litter campaign with our mayor in cleaning up our town. Everyone should be made aware that littering pollutes our beautiful town and destroys our environment. Many people may not even know that they are littering. For example, people who drive open bedded trucks are unaware that they are littering when unsecured items fly out because of the wind. Also, people who smoke and throw their cigarette butts out the window contributes to littering too.

Three steps should be taken for the littering campaign. First, we need a Litter Hot Line to turn in people who litter. Next, people who litter will be reported by others to the hot line. Third, once caught, they will be fined a maximum of $500. This will make people think twice before littering in our town.

Some solutions to help clean up our town could include plenty of trash cans throughout the city. Clubs, sport groups, and people of all ages could adopt a trash can and decorate it. My belief is that many citizens will pitch in to help our community. Just remember, litter and it will hurt! Report violators!


Photo courtesy Tom Carosello
“Pick-up Pagosa Country” essay winner Morgan Shelton. Shelton is a 7th-grader in Mrs. Monteferrante’s class.