Teacher Wins Grand Prize in Falcons Recycling Program

There are many unsung heroes throughout Georgia schools who inspire greatness in children. The Atlanta Falcons partnered with Novelis, the world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, for the second annual Rise Up & Recycle program to recognize those particular heroes who are getting kids excited about the environment and the importance of recycling.

More than 50 schools, kindergarten through eighth grade, participated in the 2013 Green Team Recycling Program throughout the state. The challenge: share the benefits of recycling throughout the schools and find inventive ways for people to take action and recycle more.

Four representatives from participating schools in Georgia are being recognized for their outstanding contributions in leading the Green Team Recycling Program. Through this program, the Falcons organization continues to expand its impact to areas of south and north Georgia as well as Metro Atlanta.

Sixth-grade teacher Audrey Hughes of Hilsman Middle School in Athens, GA was named this year's Green Team Ambassador Grand Prize Winner for her relentless efforts to engage her students in the act of recycling. Hughes is no stranger to successfully leading the "green" way for her students.

Hughes created the Trash Hunger Campaign, donating all earnings to UNICEF. The Hilsman Green Team recycled over 7,000 pounds of waste during the Rise Up & Recycle Challenge. Through their efforts, the school was able to significantly reduce its use of paper, metals, and energy because of their involvement in the Challenge. As a result of Hughes' passion, Hilsman Middle School will receive a $2,500 grant to improve the school's current recycling program and enhance environmental education.  Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders, Freddie Falcon, Atlanta Falcons players, and Novelis will join the students and teachers for an in school celebration on Monday, April 7.

In May of 2013, Hughes also was awarded five separate grants at the annual GreenFest Awards Ceremony. As a first year participant in the Rise Up & Recycle program, she led her school to be named September winners to kick start the program. Throughout the course of last season, Hughes created a 50 Can Challenge, recycling over 1,800 aluminum cans in the month of December. The Hilsman Green Team volunteered at the Athens Water Festival, sent 52 volunteers to the University of Georgia's Sanford Stadium in November and collected over 40 bags of recyclable beverage containers.

Hughes, Heather Scarborough from West Cobb Christian Academy in Marietta, GA and Courtney Owen from River Ridge Elementary in Evans, GA were recognized as Green Team Ambassadors and will receive a $500 grant to improve the current recycling program and education program at their respective schools, along with a personalized, commemorative 55 gallon recycling receptacle.

"Thank you to all of the teachers and students across Georgia for accepting the challenge to increase the awareness of recycling for more students through the Green Team Recycling Program," said Derek Prichett, vice president of global recycling for Novelis. "Green Team Ambassadors are leaders in their commitment to reducing waste and for encouraging recycling to become a core part of the school day."

For more information on the Atlanta Falcons Green Team Recycling Program, and how to get your school involved in 2014, please visit www.atlantafalcons.com/greenteam.

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