June 2017
Youth Matters

PALS: Bear Exploration Center is Going Green!


The Green Team is setting the bar high at Bear Exploration Center! This impressive group of students, led by Mary Bonikowski and Sarah Francis, is doing everything from heading up recycling to organizing cleanups on their campus. They even regularly make posters to discourage littering and to encourage recycling and helping clean up!

I spoke recently to Bear’s Green Team so they could get a better idea of why the work they are doing is so important. The students learned about how litter affects not only humans, but also animals can eat litter and make themselves sick. They also learned that even throwing out apple cores and banana peels near roadways is a bad idea because it can bring animals closer to busy roadways.

The students learned that litter is also very costly to our state. According to PALS Litter Laws Brochure, every mile of highway contains approximately 16,000 pieces of litter. It is estimated to cost around 30 cents per piece of litter to cleanup. Litter can also be quite costly to the person who litters. In Alabama, individuals who litter can be fined up to $500.

The Green Team also learned how easily litter travels in wind and water, so we discussed how important it is to find a trashcan or recycling bin immediately when finished with a bag of chips or bottle of water. Places like parks, ballfields and even schoolyards are places that easily get littered with single-use wrappers and packaging.

Bear’s Green Team agreed that they would do their part to keep their trash where it belongs!

Thank you to Bear Exploration Center’s Green Team for all you are doing! We are so happy that Bear is a part of the Clean Campus Program!

We are always accepting new applicants for the Clean Campus Program. If a school near you is interested, please have them call me at 334-263-7737 or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Clean Campus Program is FREE to all Alabama public, private and county schools. Schools may also sign up for the Clean Campus Program online at www.alpals.org.


Jamie Mitchell is the PALS State Clean Campus Coordinator.