L.A. Area Elementary Students Learn about Healthy Eating and Recycling with Edible Garden Fruit and Vegetable Garden to Be Part of LA's BEST After School Curriculum

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- LA's BEST, the American Chemistry Council and Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra rolled up their sleeves and planted seeds today, installing a "green garden" at Pinewood Avenue Elementary School. The school garden incorporates a variety of itemslike garden boxes and toolsmade with recycled plastics, including milk jugs and water bottles.

The "green garden" is designed to teach the importance of healthy eating and recycling to the 115 children enrolled in the program. Students joined partners and parent volunteers after school to help assemble garden boxes and picnic tables, and plant fruit and vegetable seeds.

"The garden is a tangible reminder of healthy living and sustainability," said Edith Ballesteros-Vargas, director of BEST Fit at LA's BEST. "We'll use it as an outdoor classroom to teach our students that today's plastic bottle can help nurture tomorrow's school garden. This is a great example of Expanded Learningthinking outside the classroom."

For the second straight year, the American Chemistry Council is sponsoring an installation of a "green garden" at an LA's BEST school site. Last year, elected officials joined ACC and community members to enhance gardens at Hooper Avenue and Los Feliz elementary schools. The project aims to encourage young people to help protect the planet by recycling every day, at home and at school.

"We want to inspire future generations to practice healthy habits," said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council. "You're never too young to learn to recycle everyday items like water bottles, yogurt cups, wraps and bags. This is a perfect lesson in recycling coming to life, in the form of a school garden."

Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra was on hand to help unveil a dedication plaque at the school in his district during a ceremony celebrating the installation of the garden.

"I am proud to be involved in a community-wide effort that teaches young people about the importance of taking care of their health and the environment," Bocanegra said. "These children look up to us and it is our responsibility to band together, lead by example and demonstrate the importance of living a more sustainable lifestyle."

LA's BEST After School Enrichment Program is a partner in the statewide recycling awareness campaign, Plastics. Too Valuable to Waste. Recycle.  The campaign launched in 2008 when representatives from the California Department of Parks and Recreation, ACC and Keep California Beautiful initiated a beach recycling program at State Parks sites in the Los Angeles and Central Coast areas. The program soon spread to State Parks beaches in San Diego, Monterey, Santa Cruz, and the City of Woodland. For more information, see www.2valuable2waste.com.

LA's BEST – Better Educated Students for Tomorrow – is a nationally recognized after school education, enrichment and recreation program serving more than 28,000 children with the greatest needs and fewest resources throughout the City of Los Angeles. LA's BEST After School Enrichment Program provides a safe haven for children ages 5 to 12 at 186 elementary school sites each day during the critical hours after schoolat no cost to parents. Established in 1988, LA's BEST is a partnership including the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the private sector. LA's BEST is part of Beyond the Bell, whose mission is to ensure that all children and youth in LAUSD have access to high quality, safe and supervised academic, enrichment, and recreation programs that inspire learning and achievement beyond the regular school day. For more information, please visit www.lasbest.org.

About the Plastics Division
The American Chemistry Council's Plastics Division represents leading companies dedicated to providing innovative solutions to the challenges of today and tomorrow through plastics. Ongoing innovations from America's Plastics Makers have led to medical advances and safety equipment that make our lives better, healthier and safer every day. And, advances in plastics are helping Americans save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decrease waste. Because plastics are such a valuable resource, the Plastics Division is leading efforts to "reduce, reuse, recycle and recover," including through outreach, education and access to advances in recycling technology. For more information, see www.americanchemistry.com/plastics.

SOURCE American Chemistry Council



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