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Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Carolyn Ritchie’s first-grade class at North Augusta Elementary had a special visitor to their classroom on April 24.
Recycling Ben, the Blue Bag Program’s new mascot, came to thank the class for helping him nail down his moniker. The class was rewarded with a pizza party and were among the first people to meet the blue fellow.
“They’re very excited about it, and it just re-enforces what this day is about,” Ritchie said. “We’ve been talking about Earth Day and recycling this week. So, it’s just a great celebration for them.”
The mascot is a marketing tool for the North Augusta Department of Public Services, which plans to take him to events around the city and in schools.
“What we want to do is really try to educate the children about recycling, and we thought the mascot would kind of make it fun,” Daniel Moore, North Augusta Public Services administrative coordinator, said. “We can use him in different functions, with Earth Day coming up this weekend, to make recycling fun and get the message out there. That’s really the goal for the mascot.”
The name Recycling Ben was selected by City Council, after a contest to name the mascot was completed in the schools of North Augusta. There were 43 names from which to choose, including names like Trashington and Mr. Blue Bag.
“I love the name,” Laurie Reese, principal of North Augusta Elementary School, said. “I thought this name was perfect and, when it won, I was excited. It’s the perfect name for the recycling bag.”
Ritchie’s class went through a democratic process to select the name, taking suggestions from the class and voting on the name they liked the most from a list of seven names. The name of Recycling Ben was a suggestion from student Madelyn Ricker.
“I think our children are very active already in the classroom learning about the environment,” Reese said. “This kind of links the community with the children, with all of the environmental education they receive – especially with the Earth Day celebration, it just kind of wraps it all up.”
The Department of Public Services was very satisfied with the contest and name, Moore said.
“It came out great, we’re so pleased with him, and we couldn’t be happier,” he said. “He’s the perfect embodiment of what our recycling program is. He’s fun, he’s big, he’s blue.”
T.J. Lundeen is a reporter with The North Augusta Star.