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Rio Grande City teen celebrates Earth Day with cleanup effort

3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago Thursday, April 22 2021 Apr 22, 2021 April 22, 2021 11:59 AM April 22, 2021 in News - Local

For Rio Grande City teen Alma Pena, every day is Earth Day – and she celebrated the holiday by stepping up in her community.

Pena, 14, is an 8th grade student at Academy and Veterans Middle School in Rio Grande City who is known for her initiative in recycling efforts, making everything around her a better place and speaking up. 

She created Starr Project Recycling – an initiative to promote recycling in the school district.

"I realized how much plastic we were throwing away every day just in my house hold," Pena said. 

Family members, friends, school teachers and her principal have provided support by providing Pena with bins for plastic collection in schools across Rio Grande City. 

Pena then drops off the items at the McAllen Recycling Center. For Earth Day, she’s volunteered to join the city in a morning cleanup project. She’s brought 10 other people to join her.

"I have friends coming over it's going to be early on the morning but I'm excited," Pena said.

The cleanup kicked off at 8 a.m. Thursday by U.S. Hwy 83 near the city’s Walmart Supercenter. 

“It's something we've been pushing for the past several weeks in Rio Grande City," RGC Public Relations specialist Angelina Villarreal said, adding that anyone can join the Earth Day initiative. "I think someone as young as Miss Pena getting involved with the community really says something about the family oriented life we have there and it's beautiful to see the young involved it motivates other people."

Pena expanded her network of supporters and organizations not only locally but globally to promote her biggest message. 

"Saving the earth, the little things that you can do to make a huge difference," Pena said.

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