Girl, 10, has a green vision

January 13, 2009 9:10:34 AM PST
When it comes to the environment, sometimes it takes a little initiative from a lot of people to make a difference.In the town of Magnolia, residents are getting that spark from a 10-year-old girl. When Hanna Welch looks at Magnolia's changing landscape, she sees more than development at work. She sees trees vanishing.

"It's kinda making me upset, because we need our trees. We need them to breathe," Hanna said.

It's a big issue. Even bigger for a 10-year-old girl, but the fourth grader didn't get overwhelmed, she got creative. Hanna first put her family on a recycling program. Now she's going for community recycling. She offers to pick up paper and plastic from neighbors who may not have been thinking green until now.

"I'm pretty lax about that," Magnolia resident Celeste Graves admitted. "I throw it in the wastebasket, so I am proud of her."

Hanna does everything but drive to the city recycling barn. That she does with her family several times a week. She's even lobbied the city to consider recycling pick up.

"They're talking about doing some kind of curbside, so maybe they can get things going," said precinct recycling manager Charlie Riley.

Hanna wants to take recycling to a new level. She dreams of automated machines. She's drawn her own plans. There's a lesson though that goes beyond green and it comes from Hanna's mom. It's a lesson in encouraging a child.

"If it's like, 'I want to go to outer space right now,' kind of shape it and mold it and get it to something they thought of, but help them figure out a way to do it," Hanna's mother Katrina Welch said.

On Hanna's idea list are toy swap meets for kids and a recycling program for her school, but most of all changing minds.

"Try to put it in grownups' heads that what you do now will affect their kids in the future," Hanna said.

Imagine what her next 10 years will be like.

We worked on this story through our partnership with Houston Community Newspapers. You can read more in the Magnolia Potpourri.

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