City of Ozark Partners with OMS to Keep Streets Clean
Next time you see the city street sweeper cleaning the streets in Ozark, pay attention to the decals on the sides and back. They were all made by Ozark Middle School fifth graders.
“Our fifth grade science students participated in the Street Sweeper Artwork Contest for the City of Ozark,” said Lisa Anderson, OMS instructional coach. “The artwork displays the effects of contaminants and waste on the environment and storm drains, and how to correctly dispose of any waste to keep our waterways clean.”
Students made posters and city employees then voted on which ones to turn into decals for the street sweeper. The decals will rotate throughout the year. The program is in its inaugural year, but the plan is to make it annual. That means, next year, the decals will change again to the designs those fifth graders create.
With messages such as “don’t be a fool ‘cause saving water is cool,” and “don’t be mean, the earth needs to be clean,” Tim Auchtung, Ozark Public Works environmental resource field supervisor, said he hopes the partnership educates students and the community.
“I really look at it as being a great outreach and partnership with the schools,” he said. “Turning this into a moving billboard and doing this every year will be awesome.”
And while students learn about the importance of water conservation, the city is able to complete some community outreach required by the Department of Natural Resources for the city’s stormwater permit.
“We’ve got 10 pictures at one time showing many different messages,” Auchtung said. “On top of that, we’re incorporating the schools, so the kids are getting excited about it. This will be a great program for years to come.”
For the past decade, the city has partnered with OMS sixth grade, giving students a hands-on experience each spring. Organized by the city, students celebrate Arbor Day and participate in fun, educational activities that include speakers from James River Basin Partnership, the game warden, a horticulturist and more.
Having a partnership with both fifth and sixth grades will help reinforce the lessons Ozark students are learning about the environment.
“I'm so proud of our students' dedication, focus and teamwork on this project to represent Ozark,” Anderson said. “The posters were truly remarkable and thoughtful. Students are excited to see their artwork displayed for years to come!”