BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — In Raleigh County, there’s only one Trashy Lady, loved by hundreds, possibly thousands, of students.

Sherrie Hunter is the director of education at the Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority. She visits schools, and she’s gotten thousands of kids to convince their families to recycle.

Every November 15, 2023, is America Recycles Day. Elementary schoolers take a field trip to the Solid Waste Authority each year, where they see firsthand how much trash the community makes and how important it is to recycle.

“They watched trash being buried in the ground. They’ve watched for bald eagles because we do have five or six bald eagles on site, they went to the New River Cleaning Energy Plant, where we’re converting trash into electricity,” Hunter said on Wednesday, November 15, 2023. “Green energy. Then the last part of the tour is when they come to see all of the things that should be recycled.”

For half an hour on Wednesday, Hunter coached Coal City Elementary School first-graders through an art project, teaching them that the things we throw away can be turned into something meaningful and productive.

“We used a toilet paper wand. We used straw and we used a lid and we used glue,” said student Payton Allen.

Lake Whitt, also a student, added, “We got a little green straw that was really long, and we got a black lid that was a soda lid.”

Teachers said students looked forward to the trip and to seeing Hunter again. Teachers said they will use some of the concepts later, in the classroom.

“The best thing that Ms. Sherrie does, whenever we come here, is she incorporates a lot of new vocabulary and she has them speak those words back to her, and those are words they don’t normally hear, in their day-to-day lives, but we can go back and build on that in the classroom, as well,” said first-grade teacher Stacie Hutchens.