School and community leaders, student volunteers, and local recyclers celebrated the Grand Opening of the EarthWise Recycling Center, a community-supported non-profit organization, at their location on the Reeds Spring High School campus. In addition, representatives from the Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce performed a ceremonial ribbon cutting to commemorate the occasion.

The EarthWise Recycling Center was developed by the Stone County Legacy Catalyst Team, a group of local citizens who are passionate about finding creative ways to pass on the core values of the area—our “Ozark Mountain Spirit.” One of those deeply-held values is the desire to ensure a preferred future for the next generations, which includes a commitment to preserve the natural beauty of the area.

“I believe that people in general have become more environmentally conscious. They see the benefit of protecting the environment and realize the economic benefits that result from recycling programs,” said Sue Noel, Legacy Catalyst Team member. “The EarthWise Recycling Center is a wonderful learning facility right here in our community that will allow us to pass on the area’s legacy of natural beauty and environmental sustainability to the next generations.”

Community partners, including the Reeds Spring School District, are excited about the opportunity EarthWise will allow for educating and training area youth about the benefits of recycling. Reeds Spring High School students will be involved in EarthWise in a variety of ways including designing the logo and promotional posters, as well as volunteering at the center. On Saturday, a group of students from the Book Club donated their time.

Students at Reeds Spring High School are already familiar with recycling efforts within their school building, such as paper and plastic bottle collection, but school officials hope that the presence of EarthWise on their campus will increase awareness of and participation in recycling. “Ultimately, we’d like to see students not only participating in our in-school recycling programs, but also encouraging their families to bring recyclable products to EarthWise on our high school campus on Saturday mornings,” said Steve Levingston, Reeds Spring High School principal.

Brent Wolff, who recently moved to the area, has brought a load of recycling to EarthWise on each Saturday since its soft opening on September 22, and Saturday’s Grand Opening was no exception. “Recycling is a way of life for me. I believe that I’ve got to do my part to keep recyclable trash out of landfills,” said Wolff.

Also in attendance at Saturday’s Grand Opening was Northern Commissioner, Jim Huy, who is a passionate advocate for recycling programs elsewhere in the county, including those in Cape Fair, Kimberling City, and Galena. “I am really happy to see EarthWise open in Reeds Spring, and I encourage our citizens to utilize the facility,” said Huy. “This is a real resource for the area and illustrates the larger commitment to recycling we are seeing throughout the county.”

Stone County Presiding Commissioner Dennis Wood, who is also an Ozark Mountain Legacy Board member, attended the Grand Opening as well. “It has been great to watch the folks work together for a common cause,” said Wood. “Stone County people have always shown concern for the environment, and EarthWise is a continuation of that priority. I am proud to be a part of this effort.”

EarthWise will be open on Saturday mornings from 8:00 a.m. until noon and will accept all standard recycling items including cardboard, plastics #1-5, steel or tin cans, mixed paper, and magazines.

“Now that we’re up and running, we want to encourage more people to get involved,” said Korina Branson, Legacy Catalyst Team member. “The fact that EarthWise is in the center of the county makes it even easier for Stone County residents to start recycling.”

For more information about the Ozark Mountain Legacy initiative, contact Ozark Mountain Legacy at (417) 598-1314, or visit www.ozarkmountainlegacy.org.

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