MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
What started out as a science project for Lejeune High School students Jason Hall Jr. and Hailee-Ann Hussey has now become one of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s most proactive environmental conservation efforts.
Hall, a sophomore, and Hussey, a freshman, have been studying recycling and the consequences of the eco-friendly initiative on both the Earth and the Earth’s inhabitants.
“The project is mainly about recycling,” said Hall. “It can save land, provide jobs for people and save the Earth by not putting harmful chemicals into (it).”
Hall and Hussey named their Earth Day project “Recycle for the Sake of the Earth.” Throughout the month of April, they made recycling bins using cardboard boxes and plastic tubs and placed those bins throughout parts of Onslow Beach and Camp Lejeune’s barracks, where recycling bins were not previously provided.
After they spent 14 days collecting recyclables, the two students took plastics, paper and glass products to an on-base recycling facility, and brought more than 100 pounds of aluminum products to Swanboro Recycling Center, who paid the students 40 cents per pound. Those profits, totaling $40.10, went toward purchasing plants, mulch and potting soil. Hall and Hussey then cleaned up the flowerbeds in the front entrance of Lejeune High School.
Hussey said this was a rewarding experience and that the project allowed the two students to see firsthand the benefits of recycling.
“I learned that giving back and helping out feels really good,” said Hussey. “It makes me more aware of what people are doing and how much trash is wasted. Even if people do a little bit, like recycling one can, it can make all the difference in the world.”
Lejeune High School wasn’t the only place on base that looked cleaner. Gunnery Sgt. Jason Hall, battery gunnery sergeant for Battery C, 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, and father of the LHS sophomore, said the Marines in Battery C have also become actively involved in the recycling process.
“The Marines utilize these bins,” said the elder Hall. “They were afforded the opportunity to recycle, and I would say 75 to 90 percent of them took advantage of that opportunity.”
Cpl. James Boyle, a cannon crewman with the unit and a friend of the Hall family, said both the Marines and high school students have seen noticeable differences in the barracks due to the additional resources, which encourages them to keep spreading the word about recycling.
“For kids of that age to understand what they’re doing – recycling and trying to get the entire base involved – it’s awesome,” said Boyle. “They’re not only doing it as a project, they’ve started something that can help the entire base in the long run.”
The work that the younger Hall and Hussey have been doing for the past month has caught the attention of some of Camp Lejeune’s top commanders responsible for environmental policy, including Col. Richard P. Flatau Jr., commanding officer of MCB Camp Lejeune.
Camp Lejeune environmental officials and Lejeune High School personnel are coordinating efforts to get additional recycling bins dropped off at 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. Kimberly Hall, the high schooler’s mother, said he and Hussey have been asked to write a paper on the pros and cons of implementing a recycling program for Camp Lejeune’s barracks based off of their experience with this science project.
David Balog, recycling coordinator for Camp Lejeune, said he was excited to see how the high school students’ efforts have had a positive influence on the Marines.
“They're doing a great thing," said Balog. "Outreach, education and having public participation go significantly further in terms of encouraging and promoting recycling initiatives.”
The conservation duo presented their recycling project to their high school biology class April 30. Justin Martinez, a biology student, said his classmates put together an outstanding presentation.
“The PowerPoint described what they were doing, and their visual aid helped us to understand what type of recycling was involved,” said Martinez. “Their project also inspired us to get involved with recycling. It was very good.”