• Homer youth recognized for her commitment to recycling
By Naomi Klouda
Katherine Dolma achieved her Girl Scout Gold Award, scouting’s highest recognition, for her community work on reusing and recycling.
In working toward the award, Dolma completed 80 hours of service work based on the education and implementation of recycling for schools and businesses. This involved making presentations to school children, helping to change habits at her own school and helping with the Ecological girls’ annual fashion show that features clothing from recycled products.
“It’s a fun way to get people to think about recycling,” Dolma said, speaking of the fashion show.
Along the way, she came up with a recycling receptacle designed and sewn by Kate Mitchell, owner of Nomar’s Manufacturing. It was needed for use by the Alaska Center for Coastal Studies in its Yurt on the Homer Spit.
“She wanted to convince grownups ‘here’s how to recycle,’ and here’s how you can do it – and she needed something with separations,” Mitchell said. “I kept it simple.”
The brailer bag tote is a stretch from the famed brailer bags Nomar manufactures to hold a thousand of pounds of fish. But the result was a bag that can hold more weight, with compartments for glass, plastic and paper.
“It could become a shelf item, if there are people who want them. This happened to be me helping a young lady with an idea,” Mitchell said. “Every product in our store was a problem someone brought in and we found a solution. Most often they are fishermen – that’s what Nomar is – we create solutions to problems.”
Dolma brought problems to other people’s attention as well. Along with other team members of EcoLogical, a group formed to educate others on the need to dispose of trash in a healthier environmental manner, she convinced the Homer Middle School to give up styrofoam plates for school lunches on some days of the week. New habits take time to incorporate, however, and Dolma found she needed a lot of community help to get anything accomplished.
Another of her projects resulted in more recycling receptacles placed on the Homer Spit.
At the ceremony Dec. 27 at Homer Council on the Arts, where Dolma’s Gold Award was celebrated, Dolma credited the community with helping her make recycling more and more of a habit.
“Thank you to the community of Homer for being so receptive and incorporating recycling into their lives,” she said. In addition to Kate and Jen Mitchell at Nomar, she thanked many others who helped her.
“I feel like the community has been really receptive to recycling. There’s a higher number of bins at the dump and more sites on the Homer Spit,” Dolma said.
Even though Dolma has achieved Girl Scout’s highest award, the Homer High School sophomore said she is going to continue on with Girl Scouts and do more work on recycling.
There’s always more work to do on education about the environment and the benefits of seeing trash in new ways, she reasons.
“I’m going to keep doing the recycling work because there’s more to do,” she said. Homer High School, for example, doesn’t use plastic trays. A lot of styrofoam and paper fills the trash bins each day at lunch.
Dolma, along with EcoLogical’s Adi Davis and Taylor Ellison, were also recognized with the 2010 Spirit of Youth Award, and the 2010 and 2011 President’s Environmental Youth Award. She was individually awarded the 2009 Prudential Spirit Award (for beach cleanup).
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