A ceremony at Cooper Middle School last week honored Richard Poole, chairman of the McLean Trees Committee, who for the last 20 years has worked to increase the presence of healthy trees and shrubs in McLean.
Although steady rain forced the Sept. 26 observance indoors, it was a cheery group that honored Poole.
The school wanted to thank the McLean Citizens Foundation for a $10,000 challenge grant that was matched by the Cooper PTA to pay landscaping the grounds in front of the school, creating patios and gardens and placing benches.
“It is wonderful for our students. Before, we didn’t have a place for them to stand [while they wait for buses]. It’s a safety issue,” said Cooper Middle School principal Arlene Randall.
The landscaping also improved the aesthetic quality of the front of the school building. “Now you have pride. Before, it looked like a mudpie,” she said.
Poole is chairman of McLean Trees, which collects whole newspapers and magazines at Cooper, sells them, and spends the proceeds to buy, plant, and maintain new trees in McLean.
The recycling bins at Cooper are open during the day seven days a week to receive newspapers, except for the plastic bags that contain advertising supplements; and magazines, Poole said.
The public is invited to bring and donate magazines and newspapers, Poole said.
Telephone books, office paper, and other non-paper products are declined.
During the 20 years he’s run the recycling effort, Poole said, “We’ve had a deer carcass, a toilet seat, eight-foot lengths of used sewer pipe and a children’s swimming pool,” Poole said.
Contributions of telephone books and mixed paper are referred to the recycling bins at McLean Bible Church on Route 7, Poole said.