November is officially “Oxford Recycles Month”, and the sixteenth annual Recycled Holiday Ornament Contest kicked off at the Oxford Academy Primary School. Notices went home in Friday Folders on November 8. This event was designed to coincide with the state’s “NY Recycles” and the national “America Recycles Day” held every year on November 15. All of the Oxford Academy school district’s art teachers: Charity Gipp, Joni Eaton, and Emily Conner will be spreading the message of recycling with their students during “Oxford Recycles Month.”

While it may appear to be just a fun contest for the kids, the positive ecological message it’s sending is clear to all. This contest has received support and recognition from local businesses, the Village of Oxford, the Chenango County DPW, and the NYS DEC in Albany.

Sponsored by the Oxford Holiday Committee, the contest specifies that the ornaments, no larger than 8” (more of a guideline), be constructed of materials that would usually go in the garbage can, such as Styrofoam cups, straws, cardboard, k-cups, etc. The deadline for entries is Friday, November 22.

Primary School librarian Renae Ruff welcomes back “Trash Tom,” the upcycled turkey sculpture to the library to bring Oxford Recycles awareness to all. To give the kids from UPK through fourth grades, some ideas for making environmentally friendly, recycled ornaments, there are books displayed in the school’s library. Most of these books detail the importance of the “3 R’s”- Recycling, Reducing, and Reusing. There is also a wall display, with sample ornaments and photos, in the hall opposite the Primary School office.

The feedback from faculty members is that the contest is a positive creative activity that the students look forward to having at home with their families.

All participants who enter will get personalized Certificates of Recognition, pencils made from recycled materials and other items generously donated by the DEC. Ornaments will also be exhibited for the month of December in the window of ‘6 On The Square’, the arts and entertainment venue located at 6 LaFayette Park.

There will also be three place awards in each Primary School grade (18 total) who will receive gift certificates from Blueox Neighborhood Market, Roma's/Stadium, and Hoppie’s, sponsored by the Oxford Holiday Committee.

The Recycled Ornament Contest annually receives support and recognition from the NYS DEC’s Bureau of Waste Reduction & Recycling (BWRR)’s in Albany. Debbie Jackson (now retired) of the DEC confirmed, from the contest’s start, that this was the FIRST EVER in New York State. Environmental Program Specialist - Jennifer Kruman (DEC), who generously supported the program with Conservationist for Kids magazines and NY Recycles calendars for place winners last year, said she’d be happy to provide more materials.