As teachers cleaned out their classrooms for summer, Clements/Parsons Elementary third grader and reigning Junior Mister Five Hills Nathan Garner took advantage of the opportunity to save Mother Earth.

Nathan collected cardboard boxes, wrapped them in green paper to ensure they were pleasing to the eye, and attached flyers. He delivered the boxes to all Copperas Cove Independent School District campuses encouraging staff members to save their used markers and broken crayons to donate to Crayola’s ColorCycle program.

Crayola operates a program called ColorCycle that uses a process to convert markers to energy, a process that re-purposes the entire marker, regardless of the different kinds of plastic or how they are assembled. All brands of plastic markers, not just Crayola markers, are accepted. That includes dry erase markers and highlighters. The company will also accept all brands of broken crayons.

“I believe this project is good because it is helping with the environment,” Nathan said. “I have enjoyed dropping off the boxes at different locations and am excited to see how many more markers and crayons we can collect.”

Nathan delivered the boxes at the beginning of the last week of school. Within a couple of days, Copperas Cove Junior High School had already filled its first box. By the end of the week, CCJHS has called again for another pick-up and so had staff members at Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy.

Nathan visited all CCISD campuses throughout this week before campuses close for the summer months.

To date, Nathan has collected hundreds of markers and crayons and will continue the project indefinitely as part of the platform of service through the Miss Five Hills Scholarship Program.

Nathan is also a Boy Scout and is active in the Leave No Trace Project where Scouts are encouraged to leave the outdoor wilderness in the same condition as when they arrived for camping trips, hikes, plant and wildlife studies, and more.

“Recycling is important to me because it helps protect nature,” Nathan said. “If everyone does his part, then we can be sure the environment is still safe for the future. Less trash will go into the landfills. We are able to reuse the recycled materials and create new things.”

Used markers and broken crayons may be dropped off at the CCISD Administration Building, 408 S. Main St., or arrange to have them picked up by emailing

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