Tyler’s Volunteer Coordinator Julia Lo Ehrhardt sent out via email her Volunteer Newsletter in Late November with a simple request:
We need your toilet paper or paper towel rolls. Our programmers are dreaming up ways to engage children and they came up with this beautiful work of recycled art. Save us your rolls and bring them to the Visitor Center by December 1.
Included in the newsletter was a wonderful photo (displayed to the right) for volunteers to see an example of the clever art that kids will be making at Tyler’s programs, such as the upcoming Woodland Winter Wonderland event on December 6. I knew that I had some toilet paper rolls that I hadn’t yet recycled, and I knew we would be emptying paper towel rolls with our baking for the Thanksgiving holiday. I was ready to start my collection to donate to the cause!
But then I started thinking… certainly, I’m not the only person with empty cardboard rolls in the house. Why not engage my fellow faculty and staff members where I work (Penn State Brandywine) to donate their “empties” from the holidays? The students were already gone for Thanksgiving break, so it was difficult to get the word out to them. But I quickly connected with Dr. Lynn Hartle, the coordinator of our campus Laboratory for Civic Engagement, and we decided to do a joint collection drive on campus between the Laboratory and the Environmental Inquiry Minor (an academic program I advise for). Within minutes, I drafted a flyer (this is a PDF of the flyer), emailed the flyer to the entire campus, and kept my fingers crossed that by December 1st, we would have some rolls to donate.
The “buzz” that this collection drive generated was immediate. I saw that others printed off the flyer and posted it on bulletin boards and office doors. An announcement went up on the campus Facebook page and on Twitter:
Save toilet and paper towel rolls over the break. Bring to campus by Dec. 1 for children’s artwork @TylerArboretum http://t.co/rh8DenmIWP
— PSU Brandywine (@PSUBrandywine) November 21, 2014
And wow, did the rolls come rolling in! We had a full lawn-and-leaf garbage bag filled with cardboard rolls, and then even more came in today. I was so pleased to see and hear the enthusiasm from my co-workers for helping Tyler Arboretum. One interesting side effect was the “visual” of just how many cardboard rolls we generate and go through in such a short time (a possible future environmental project for a student to investigate!).
So here is my take-home message to all volunteers and friends of Tyler – reach out to your family, your friends, your co-workers, your schools, etc., and get them involved in helping Tyler Arboretum! I don’t know anyone that has the time or the funds to help to the extent that he/she wishes, but by mobilizing our own little circles of family and friends with these types of collection drives, simple acts of kindness can make a big difference for Tyler (in this case, for the art/nature programs for children).
This makes me want to make some recycled art, too! My next post, Part 2, will be a full description of what Tyler did with all of these toilet paper and paper towel rolls…
December 2, 2014 at 2:39 PM
Fantastic blog and thanks for the rolls!
Julia Lo Ehrhardt
515 Painter Road
Media, PA 19063-4424
(610) 566-9134 ext 205 D
(610) 891-1490 F
Office Hours: Mon., Tues., Thurs 9 to 4:30
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