On Saturday, Cutler Bay will be adorned with six new dolphin-shaped recycling bins throughout three different parks. The project was devised by eighth-grader Noah LaFleur, who felt his community needed an incentive to take care of its surrounding environment.
“Growing up I was always taught to love the environment,” Noah said. “I want the next generation of kids to start recycling more.”
Under the guidance of his mentor, Lyle Culver, and with the encouragement of his mother, Sandra LaFleur, Noah submitted an entry into the 2016 Public Space Challenge, sponsored by the Miami Foundation.
Noah was interested in architecture and began to think about what he could do to make his community environmentally friendly. He realized that children often have a great influence on the actions of their parents and believed that if he could make them enthusiastic about recycling, then parents would follow suit.
He came up with the idea of developing animal-shaped recycling bins to attract children’s attention.
In his entry, Noah had a plan for marketing the project, developing the pieces, and measuring their effectiveness in prompting people to recycle. Out of over 400 entries, Noah’s idea was selected as one of 56 finalists before he was selected as one of the 19 winners. He received a $5,000 grant to bring his idea to life.
“His school community is excited. They put him in the newsletter,” said Noah’s mother, Sandra Lafleur. “This is such a unique opportunity to make an idea happen.”
As of now, Noah wants to focus on this project in the long term before thinking about beginning others. His mother believes that this is a project he could continue well into high school where he can create more animal-shaped recycling bins and involve more parks in the South Florida area.
Currently, Noah is a freshman in Terra Environmental High School where he finds interest in learning about engineering and robotics. “I just like assembling things, making products, and designing things for people. I think it’s cool,” he said.
His mother is excited in the possibilities the lie in his future. On Oct.19, the town of Cutler Bay recognized Noah’s contributions by awarding him an official proclamation.
Noah, his mother, family, and friends will be hosting an unveiling event to introduce the dolphin-shaped recycling bins to the community. He hopes to get people involved.
“Community involvement is very important because if a community doesn’t help with an idea, it’s going to be very hard for the idea to work,” Noah said.
If you go
▪ What: Recycling bin unveiling event
▪ When: 9 to 10:30 a.m. Dec. 3 at Cutler Ridge Park, 10100 SW 200th St., Cutler Bay; 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Lakes by the Bay Park, 8551 SW 216th St.
▪ More information: Contact Sandra LaFleur, firstname.lastname@example.org or 305-342-9286