“Ms. Burge was chosen for this award because of her endless energy, passion.”
The Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District (District) is a County organization, established by State law, responsible for ensuring that the County achieves State mandated goals for recycling and waste reduction. The District achieves these goals through the implementation of waste reduction programs targeted to residents, communities, businesses, and schools.
The District awards communities with outstanding or significantly improved recycling programs; buinesses or organizations who excel in reducing, reusing or recycling; and schools, educators and students who have made an outstanding contribution to recycling education in Hamilton county.
Loveland High School teacher, Tracy Burge was recognized as the 2015, Outstanding Recycling Educator in Hamilton County.
The 11th Annual Recycling Awards Ceremony was held November 17th, at Winton Woods Mill Race Banquet Center. Attendees were welcomed by Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune. Holly Christmann, Director of Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services, along with staff of the Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District, presented awards.
The Outstanding Recycling Educator Award goes to an educator who champions recycling and materials management within their school. This year’s winner is Tracy Burge of Loveland High School.
Here is the statement from the County about why Burge was honored:
Ms. Burge was chosen for this award because of her endless energy, passion, and ability to motivate her students. Tracy has always been the driving force behind the reduction efforts at Loveland High School.
Before her tenure as environmental science teacher, there was no recycling program in the Loveland District. She started the program in 2009, beginning with paper recycling. With the help of her students, she loaded her truck with paper and cardboard and recorded the empty dumpsters the school was paying to have picked up. Empowering her students to act, they appeared before the school board and were effective in convincing them to begin recycling paper.
The next step was to focus on waste reduction. Knowing the best way to educate and build leadership skills, Tracy developed service learning projects as part of her students’ curriculum. Some examples of waste reduction successes stemming from this include:
• Integrating tray stacking in the cafeteria, thus reducing the number of trash bags from 60 to 32 each day.
• Commercial composting in the cafeteria, further reducing waste generated by 1500 students to only 2 bagsof garbage each day!
• Incorporating commercial composting at the Middle and Intermediate Schools, allowing them to also achieve a zero waste status in their cafeteria.
• A number of Ms. Burge’s students have received college scholarship monies as a result of their efforts under her tutelage.
Tireless, Tracy Burge does her work without support of a Green Team or Club. Her helpers are her students as she is such an inspiration. From the words of William A. Ward, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
Today Loveland High is an 86 percent zero waste school with a 97 percent zero waste cafeteria. Her program development led to the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools Award in 2012, and remains the only school in Hamilton County to be honored with this distinction as well as only one of 78 in the nation.
Henry Brooks Adams wrote, “Teachers affect eternity; no one can tell where their influence stops.” Certainly Tracy’s influence stretches well beyond the school, the community, and will reverberate timelessly.
It is an honor to award Tracy Burge with the Outstanding Recycling Educator Award.