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‘Garbage Is My Bag’ takes Wellesley

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By Rama K. Ramaswamy

Jack Golden plays the role of Dr. T in “Garbage Is My Bag,” his fast-paced blend of mime, comedy, song, circus skills and dramatic story that features some serious “trash talk” about reuse and recycling.

Jack Golden has been a professional variety artist since 1981. He’s performed with the world-famous Pickle Family Circus of San Francisco and the award-winning “New Vaudeville” comedy troupe, The Wright Brothers. “Garbage Is My Bag” was selected by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its national EPA Administrators Award- for solid waste programs. “Garbage Is My Bag,” according to Golden, “was designed to meet many national and state learning standards for science and environmental studies in addition to being aligned with various national theater and arts standards.”

The Wellesley Recycling and Disposal Facility sponsors two shows by Golden each school year. According to WRDF Superintendent, Jeff Azano-Brown, he’s not sure how his predecessor, Gordon Martin, first learned about Golden, but was incredibly impressed by his show and shortly after, dedicated a portion of the WRDF budget towards Golden’s programs, such as “Garbage Is My Bag,” “Water Water Everywhere,” “A Little Bit Goes A Long Way” and “Environmental Extravaganza: EnviroGanza.” According to Azano-Brown, “the schools are a point of emphasis when trying to educate all residents about the importance of recycling. I think that Jack conveys the message better than our previous outreach efforts. His combination of environmentalism and humor helps educate them in a fun and effective way and gets them excited about recycling. And, if teachers integrate recycling into their environmental-science classes, this is another way to emphasize these lessons kids are learning.”

According to Upham School’s Principal Jeffry Dees, “Upham has been a green school for over five years now. So the program allows for the children to understand more in depth piece to the recycle movement or green movement.” Golden’s program was developed in 1989 and he said it since “has helped hundreds of thousands of children around the country explore serious issues about our wasteful habits in the hilarious context of a professionally staged variety show. The program is terrific for grades K-8.” According to Principal Dees, Golden’s “programs are very engaging and entertaining and allow the kids to laugh but also view a very serious topic to come to the forefront. We just completed our green week. Within that green week, we reestablished the cafeteria-recycling program with the help of our PTO volunteers. Our green program at Upham is very strong.”

Golden said that his character, Dr. T, uses “the power of live performance to engage children with facts about our solid waste problems and a positive model of how to solve them. Emphasizing recycling and waste reduction, ‘Garbage Is My Bag’ presents children with rewarding and important ways that they can directly contribute to their home, school and community environment. The goal of the program is to strengthen new attitudes and responsibilities toward our common resources in our homes, communities and worldwide.”

Golden performed at Sprague and Upham Schools last year. This year, he took the stage at Hardy, where Principal Cook as well as parents agreed that “theater and laughter are effective communicators of more complicated global issues.” Hardy students remembered and enjoyed Golden’s “trash talk!” To schedule a show, please get in touch with WRDF Superintendent Jeff Azano-Brown at jazano@wellesleyma.gov or Sustainable Wellesley at http://www.sustainablewellesley.com.

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