April 7, 2024
With teens like Paige Gregory, who needs adults?

by Mary Reid Barrow

On a beautiful Saturday at the start of spring break, 20 industrious teens were at work in LRNow’s conference room learning about the damage plastic bags do to the environment and making reusable bags out of old tee shirts.

The group was led by Paige Gregory, a senior in the Legal Studies Academy at First Colonial High School, who plans on a major in environmental studies with a minor in public policy at the University of Connecticut.

 As soon as Paige heard about her senior project, she knew right away she wanted to do something about the environment.

“My first thought was plastic bag legislation since it is something I’ve always been interested in,” she said.

Paige comes from a very environmentally conscious family and has visited relatives around the country, from the Northeast to Hawaii. She has been in states and cities that have plastic bag legislation.

“I’ve always wanted Virginia to do the same thing,” she said. “Just traveling around our city, I see plastic litter everywhere.”

A good example is this photo that was taken just a few blocks away from LRNow’s office:

The more Paige learned, the more passionate she became about the issue and the more confused she became about why there is no legislation in Virginia or at least a plastic bag fee in Virginia Beach.

“Data and research prove that plastic bags have a huge impact on the environment and bans and fees make a difference.”

Paige’s passion led her to work with LRNow’s Advocacy Coordinator Molly Riley. They came up with a workshop to educate the community and encourage them to show their support for a plastic bag fee. A third component was to teach participants how to make no-sew bags from tee shirts for LRNow to distribute to food banks and other groups that need them.

That led to the Saturday morning spring gathering in LRNow’s conference room. Paige held an online and in-person discussion about the problems with plastic bags. Then the students created 46 no-sew tee shirt bags to add to the more than 10,000 bags that LRNow has distributed to the community.

Click here for Paige’s instructions on how to make a reusable bag from a tee shirt. Be like Paige and help keep LRNow’s reusable bag supply growing!

P.S. This was not Paige’s first encounter with LRNow. For her Girl Scout Gold Award, working with Restoration Coordinator Vince Bowhers and volunteers, she led a project to install a rain garden complete with a foot bridge in a low-lying area in LRNow’s office backyard.


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