Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, Turlock turned green this week.
The City of Turlock Municipal Services is celebrating its 12th annual Go Green Week, which began on Monday and runs through Friday with a focus of environmental education geared towards K-12 students. Through themed activities like tree planting, facilities tours, assemblies, contests and even live animal shows, kids this week were able to learn about the importance of recycling, water conservation, pollution prevention and energy efficiency.
Turlock Scavenger has partnered with the City for Go Green Week since its creation in 2008, when Sandra Tovar Medeiros Elementary School was the sole participant, providing tours of its recycling facility and community outreach meant to inform students about the environment in a fun way.
“The kids’ faces, they just light up,” Jesse Marchant of Turlock Scavenger told the City Council during a presentation at Tuesday’s meeting. “How excited they get about what probably us adults take for granted is really fun.”
Today, Go Green Week includes participants from public and private K-12 school campuses throughout the city who welcome local business representatives to their campuses for educational presentations, see which classrooms can recycle the most and participate in a district-wide “Wear Green Day.”
Additionally, the City’s bus line service, Turlock Transit, is offering free rides for all passengers on fixed routes all week long through Saturday.
In the past 11 years, the Go Green Week program has helped to divert over 20,600 lbs. of material from the landfill, planted 253 trees and assisted with fundraising efforts to raise approximately $13,000 for the schools through recycling contest.
Approximately 11,700 students and faculty participate in Go Green Week, and while much progress has been made thanks to the program’s efforts, Marchant believes there’s still more work to be done.
“Times are changing,” he said. “We’re becoming a lot more conscious of our environment…this isn’t something that just happens once a year for a week, it’s something that we should be conscious of year-round.”