Three Henderson Junior High students - Kara Peppmeyer, Kelsey Scott and Ashley Merrill are working to make the world a better place. The eighth graders are Girl Scout Cadettes who have taken on a major project in hopes of earning the organization's Silver Award. In choosing a project, the Cadettes had to identify an issue they care about and take action in a community outside of their scout troop. Their project focuses on environment awareness, and they decided to focus their effort on improving HJH.

1. Tell us about the project.

"Our project focuses on plastic bottle recycling," Kara said. "We have four vending machines on campus and students always carry around a water, Gatorade or soft drink bottles."

"One girl had six bottles in her locker," Kelsey added.

To determine how many bottles were piling up in trash cans across the campus and being delivered to landfills, the girls counted the number being thrown away in the school's cafeteria. They found in one lunch period alone, an average of 404 bottle were being thrown in the trash every week.

"That's more than 30,000 bottles per year," Ashley said. "We hope they will continue to recycle after we receive the award."

With the problem identified, the girls came up with a simple solution.

"We placed recycling bins in the cafeteria and two hallways," Ashley added. "They are being used."

2. Why did you choose to make a difference on campus?

"I wanted to make an impact at school," Kelsey said. "I want everyone to get to know me in a positive way."

"I hope the project will help (my peers) realize how they can help the planet," Ashley said.

The project already has the girls looking for other ways to help the environment.

"I am trying to start recycling aluminum cans at home," Kelsey said. "My family uses a lot."

Erath Iron & Metal recycles aluminum, soup and vegetable cans and other metals.

3. What happens with the bottles when the receptacles are full?

"We bag them in clear plastic bags and the custodial staff places them beside the paper recycling bin out back," Kara said.

"They are hauled off by IESI," Kelsey added.

IESI, the company that collects trash in Stephenville, has a recycling center at 1291 N. Bates Avenue where newspapers and plastics are accepted.

The girls are keeping a log to verify they have put the minimum 50 hours of work into the project, which will be reviewed by their scout leader, Gayle Land, who will determine if they qualify for the Silver Award.