Local students stepped up to help the environment Saturday as part of the annual Think Green, Think Clean litter challenge.
The challenge, in its sixth year, encourages local students to be environmentally conscious by volunteering to pick up litter across the area. The event, sponsored by the City of Lebanon Beautification Commission along with Lebanon, Mt. Juliet and Wilson County Stormwater Groups, awards prizes to the top three schools based on participation rates.
“The event is designed to instill the importance of protecting our environment and keeping a litter-free community,” said Richard Baldwin, city of Lebanon stormwater coordinator. Each winning school is required to invest their prize money towards a beautification project. These include a rain garden, butterfly garden or other environmental enhancement projects.
This year, 12 schools participated in the challenge, with 625 students and parents volunteering to pick up litter. At the end of the challenge, there were 685 bags of trash collected, each bag being 15 gallons.
Also on hand to participate this year were volunteers from Bridgestone as well as Cumberland University.
Winners of the sixth annual challenge were: first place, Walter J. Baird Middle School with 20 percent participation; second place, Sam Houston Elementary with 15.2 percent participation; and third place, Byars Dowdy Elementary with 8.4 percent participation.
“In addition to county wide cleanup, we had several schools that targeted Don Fox Park,” Baldwin said. “We also had a tree giveaway at the fairgrounds - the state tree, Tennessee Tulip.”
Participating schools included Byars Dowdy Elementary, Carroll-Oakland Elementary, Castle Heights Elementary, Coles Ferry Elementary, Elzie D. Patton Elementary, Lebanon High School, Sam Houston Elementary, Walter J. Baird, West Wilson Middle School, Wilson Central High School and Winfree Bryant Middle School.