Huntington High School’s Environmental Club is still the new kid on the block, but it has a reputation for being a collection of high energy teenagers who are unstoppable when they get behind a project.
Noah Morris is this year’s club president. Rachel Moss (vice president), Katarina Obermaier (treasurer), Christiana DeLuca (recording secretary), Neil Jean-Baptiste (corresponding secretary), James Obermaier (social media correspondent), Katharine Kitzen (interscholastic representative), Katie Stock (historian) and Axa Waxenberg (administrative assistant) also serve on the organization’s executive board. Science teacher Gina Carone is the group’s faculty advisor.
News of the environmental club’s good work has reached community members and politicians alike. “We have been asked to participate in Suffolk County’s observational study regarding the use of plastic bags,” Mr. Morris said. “In January 2018, a new law takes effect that requires retailers to collect a five cent fee on every non-reusable plastic bag provided to customers, with a few exceptions. Our club’s role in the run-up to the new law is to count the number of shoppers that use plastic bags over reusable bags at local supermarkets and pharmacies. By collecting this data, the effects of this law will be more measurable.”
Science research class and AP Environmental Science students have both joined the initiative, with teachers Lori Kenny and Nicole Cooper joining Mrs. Carone and environmental club members.
“Many major cities have already implemented this fee and have seen a decrease in the use of plastic bags as a result,” Mr. Morris said. “Plastic poses a huge threat to the environment, specifically to the marine ecosystems. Huntington, being so close to the Long Island Sound, has a great opportunity to reduce the pollution of plastic in our oceans. Many of our members have participated in these bag collection surveys and many more plan to participate in future ones.”
Club members expect to attend a county press conference this month about the new bag law. “We are proud that our efforts are going past the grounds of the school and into Suffolk County,” Mr. Morris said. “Part of our mission statement is to implement change on the school, on the community and on the world. Through the dedicated members of our club, we were able to accomplish all three of these goals within the span of a year and a half. We will continue to protect and preserve the environment so our planet can flourish for thousands of years.”
Mrs. Carone said the initiative was an “awesome way” for the environmental club members to get involved in an issue involving a legislative body. Huntington students were on the scene collecting data at King Kullen and Walgreens in Halesite this past weekend and will be doing it again during the current week.
“We are always looking for ways to better the environment whether it be in the high school, community or now even the county, Ms. Moss said. “I volunteered at Walgreens a few weeks ago and it was pretty alarming to see how many people left with plastic bags over the course of only two hours.”
Going out into the field, learning a thing or two and making a positive difference keeps the environmental club members energized.