I don’t know many people whose skills extend from car mechanic to science teacher, hunter education instructor, manager of a conservation education center and now recycler extraordinaire. Melanie Carden-Jessen, though, is one productive person. And a humble one too. I expect as she describes receiving the Missouri State Employee Award for recycling, she’ll be saying that it’s all the people she works with who deserve the award. Of course it’s true that she doesn’t do it alone, but as someone who leads by enthusiastic example, Melanie is clearly deserving unique recognition.
In describing the recycling that goes on at the Conservation Department’s Twin Pines Conservation Education Center, Melanie said, “We recycle everything. Not just the cardboard and cans but the plastics and even the cardboard tubes from the paper towels and toilet paper. (Toilet paper rolls are used to make ivory billed woodpeckers during school programs.)
“We don’t have a garbage disposal; we have composting worms. Our hope is to get it going well enough to harvest some worms for fishing with kids in the pond.” They read to groups from a book called “Garbage Monster” then rotate through stations on recycling that include building an edible “landfill.”
Effective recycling is something that becomes part of regular practice. At Twin Pines, it’s more than just a good idea—it’s part of everyday life.