Bryan Hurst’s seventh-grade students at La­Rue County Middle School have discovered a creative recycling idea that not only helps keep the earth cleaner, but also provides a beneficial byproduct.

“We used nearly 5,000 plastic water bottles, sports drink bottles, small soda bottles, and 2-liter soda bottles to create a plastic greenhouse,” said Hurst, a seventh-grade science and STEM – science, technology, engineering, and math – teacher.

“About half of our seventh-graders have contributed to the construction and the other half will finish up the construction and additional work spaces in the spring,” he added. “Hopefully, we can construct a water catch system and composting station as well.”

The project idea came from fellow seventh-grade teacher Sarah Wil­son, who received a grant for an energy based, student-led project.

“We had heard of other schools doing similar things, so we planned it out with some help from students, and went to work,” Hurst said.

The students started the project the third week of school, he said.

Hurst, in his sixth year at the school, said students researched ecological issues including the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and estimated their own carbon footprint.

“The research allowed us to plan a project that not only helps our community by recycling thousands of plastic bottles, but also provides ongoing educational experiences and opportunities,” he said.

He intends for the greenhouse to be ongoing, too. Plans include the construction of a work area with benches and planters.

“We hope to have plants growing in the spring, maybe native flowers and vegetables,” he said. “A butterfly garden would be a project to come later.”

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