2005-05-13 / People

Students Make Paper on Earth Day

Seniors Emily St. Onge (left) and Blisse Beardsley watch teacher Nikki Helsel sift excess water from a wet pulp on a framed screen to make recycled paper. High school students learned the process of making recycled paper during Earth Day, Friday, April 22. Seniors Emily St. Onge (left) and Blisse Beardsley watch teacher Nikki Helsel sift excess water from a wet pulp on a framed screen to make recycled paper. High school students learned the process of making recycled paper during Earth Day, Friday, April 22. Mackinac Island high school students made colorful recycled paper during Earth Day, Friday, April 22, using scrap construction paper, old newspaper, old homework assignments, and brown paper bags.

“The activity was meant to give students a glimpse into the process of recycling paper and show them an alternative use for their discarded papers,” said science teacher Nikki Helsel.

Colorful recycled paper made by Mackinac Island high school students.
Colorful recycled paper made by Mackinac Island high school students. The students worked in groups, each mixing old paper into a pulp. They could select from a variety of paper colors and could add texture from materials like yarn or dried moss.

The blended scrap was mixed with warm water and the pulp was poured onto special screens, where the excess water was removed and the sheets pressed, blotted, and turned. The new sheets dried over the weekend.

“In the process,” said Mrs. Helsel, “the students were able to see that no piece of recycled paper was alike. They enjoyed seeing the different results they got from mixing all the reusable paper materials.

“Many of the students joked that they could use the paper to do homework. Hopefully, that meant the trend of using recycled paper is catching on,” she said.

(Photography courtesy of Nikki Helsel)

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