CHESTERTOWN - Concerned by an ongoing waste of natural resources nationally, fourth graders at North Warren Elementary have launched an effort for citizens of the North Country to reduce junk mail.
The youngsters are spreading the word for people to cancel subscriptions to unwanted catalogues - to save trees, oxygen and water, while uncluttering their mailboxes, the students said.
Student Lane Feldeisen said unsolicited catalogues, which most often end up in household trash, are incredibly wasteful, while burdening the nation's resources.
"The number of catalogues mailed each day in America if put in a stack would make a pile 77 miles high or 14 times the height of Mount Everest," he said. "This is a big waste of trees."
Student Sarah Phillips said studies indicate that most all of these catalogues aren't used by the recipients.
"People use only two out of every 100 catalogs sent through the mail," she said.
Fellow student Kyla Allen said printing up all these catalogs means cutting down trees, which convert ever-increasing carbon dioxide into life-sustaining oxygen.
"It takes 61 million harvested trees each year in the U.S. to make catalogs," she said.
"It's a big waste of oxygen and electricity too," Andy Hanaburgh said.
The 39 fourth graders at North Warren, guided by teachers Cheryl Erickson and Stacy Cooper, have instituted a challenge to the other students to see which grade can cancel the most catalogs.
Also, they've urged their own families to take action and are now preparing a video about the waste of resources caused by catalogs and junk mail.
The effort was launched in conjunction with the science curriculum, Erickson said.
Already, the students have presented a skit in an elementary school assembly to raise awareness among students and they've set up a bin for catalog and junk mail collection.
"There is a visible excitement among these fourth graders as they describe their project," Erickson said.
The students said families can either contact catalog mailers to unsubscribe, mark the item "Refused" and send it back via mail or go to www.catalogchoice.org to specify which catalogs to receive, and which catalogs to cancel, Erickson said.