JERSEYVILLE - St. Francis/Holy Ghost sixth-graders were “all hands on deck” as they recently raced their cardboard boats in a regatta at the JCH Wellness Center. Students raced across the pool in cardboard boats they designed and built based on their recent lessons on buoyancy and Newton’s Laws of Motion. The boats can be made only from cardboard and duct tape but can be any design or dimension.

Crew members of one cardboard boat, Allison Militello and Sophie Winters, shared their experience: “We started off with not much experience with cardboard. Our design was good, but the cardboard didn’t agree, so we had to rebuild three times and get some help from our classmates, but we worked together, learned, and didn’t give up.”

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This project forms part of a larger student effort to learn about local recycling. Students obtained their cardboard in a fun and educational field trip to the cardboard processing center in Jerseyville, operated by the Illinois Valley Economic Development Corporation. While on the field trip, students learned about the important role the IVEDC and local businesses have in keeping cardboard out of landfills and how they have been recently impacted by a drop in cardboard demand. Students were excited to learn how to process cardboard and even more about how they might be able to contribute to recycling.

Stella Pohlman reflected on her learning experience and shared, “We were excited to work on the boats, but we are really learning that it takes a community to be successful at anything, even school projects, and especially recycling. Members of a community have to want to recycle and make an effort to do it well. This means that we have to learn to be patient if the recycling bins are full or unavailable so that we don’t just leave our recyclables outside the bins and contribute to the problem. The market for cardboard is low now, so if we can’t recycle in town it is good to reuse the cardboard rather than toss them in the dumpster to go to a landfill. We are reusing the cardboard for our boats, then they are going in a compost pile.”

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Tanner Carey also mentions, “We learned that if the cardboard recycling bin is out at the Susnig Center we can leave our cardboard, but that we should always break down the boxes. We also learned that the thin cardboard that is used to make boxes for packaged cereal cannot be processed with the thicker cardboard, so that should be recycled separately or reused.”

In regards to the Regatta at the JCH Wellness Center, all the students were grateful for the help they have received from other classmates, older students, parents, teachers, and their new friends at the IVEDC. A very special thanks to the JCH Wellness Center which is making its beautiful facility available for the race and providing a lifeguard.

Another boat crew, Graden Forrester and Conan Ewen, remarked, “The learning experience has been so much fun.”

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Boat Regatta