Trash to Treasure

Program Partners:  Nevada Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation & Technology, Tahoe Fund

The $50k grant awarded to the Incline Education Fund (IEF) from the Nevada Governor’s Office of Science Innovation and Technology (OSIT) for the IMS Robotics program, coupled with a second $20k grant IEF was awarded from the Tahoe Fund enabled the launch of the Trash to Treasure program. This is an innovative program combining environmental stewardship with STEM technology.  Incline Middle School teacher Kevin Edwards is directing the community-wide project. 

Teams of students, local service groups and individual community members collect trash and debris found in the Tahoe basin on 3 specific occasions (after Earth Day, July 4th and Labor Day).  The usable pieces are turned into communal art piece(s) with the specific purpose of informing the general public about the importance of keeping the Tahoe basin trash free and caring for the environment.

Students take the lead in the project, using drones and robots to search the lake, beaches and public areas for trash. They track data about the trash collected and chronicle where it was found to determine where future trash receptacles and/or signage might be needed to help mitigate visitor behavior and to help improve the health of the lake.  

Local artist(s) have been invited to work with the student groups to design and create a piece of public art out of the (usable) collected trash and will be displayed in a public location in Incline Village. Signage will be included with the art explaining the negative effects that leaving trash and debris have on the Basin and the lake. 

Students develop both their robotics and data analysis skills. Their marketing efforts will help to inform locals and tourists about sustainable recreation.

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