Earth Day is a year-round event for some

A woman passionate about making Suquamish tidy, a company that practices sound environmental methods while making furniture and a group of students that has discovered leftover food can be turned into compost have been recognized by Kitsap County for their green efforts.

The county presented nine groups and residents Earth Day Awards April 10 for their individual efforts to make a contribution to the environment. Of the nine, three of the recipients are from the North End: Poulsbo’s Watson Furniture Group, the Suquamish Elementary School Pond Kids and Suquamish resident Julia Smith.

Watson Furniture Group, which earned the Outstanding Achievement in Sustainability Award, manufactures furniture using recycled and recyclable materials. It also incorporates efficient and environmentally-friendly facilities, processes and practices.

“From every aspect, from design through manufacturing, we try really hard to make sure everything is sustainable or has recycled qualities or is recyclable at the end of its life,” said Watson’s environmental projects coordinator Julia Zander.

While the company has been recognized for its work and practices on a national level, receiving an award from the company’s own community is just as big a deal.

“Overall, it was pretty exciting for us to get,” Zander said. “It’s always nice to hear your efforts are being recognized.”

The Suquamish Pond Kids at Suquamish Elementary School were awarded the Excellence in Environmental Leadership Award for recycling leftover lunches.

For the past year, a group of fourth, fifth and sixth graders has been composting 20-30 pounds a day of fruit and vegetable waste from the school, along with recycled shredded newspapers, in a large worm bin. More than 10 gallons of worm compost has been harvested for the school garden.

The idea to compost came in 2004 after the students saw school lunch leftovers going to waste. After learning how to turn vegetarian waste into compost by letting worms eat the food, the students decided to try it with the remaining lunch food at their school.

“I was just very proud of them, they worked very hard,” said project advisor ??? Jan Jackson.

Aside from taking the initiative to recycle, the kids are making sure the rest of the school knows about their efforts by reporting results to their peers as well as students in the primary grades.

“They have talked to all the classes about the lunch composting and how we’re helping the environment,” Jackson said. “They’re kind of becoming earth stewards. I’d say they are becoming responsible citizens and helping protect the planet.”

Suquamish resident Julia Smith was awarded the Clean Kitsap Award for her efforts to organize a Suquamish Community Cleanup Day. She started the annual event in 2004 by contacting Kitsap County’s solid waste division to find out how to get started and recruited volunteers for the event. Since then, Smith and 119 volunteers have collected 442 bags of litter collected within the boundaries of the Suquamish community. This year, volunteers covered 36 miles of roadway in its clean up efforts.

Smith also worked with the Suquamish Tribe to attain disposal vouchers to assist Suquamish residents with disposal costs so they could clean up their property.

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