Megan Phillips 2

Megan Phillips is pictured with the recycling bin she created for Monticello Middle School.


When Megan Phillips saw litter at a city park, it sparked an idea.

“I didn’t like seeing litter at the parks,” said the Monticello Middle School 8th grader.

Megan is a Girl Scout who knew that she would someday need a project so she could earn her Silver Award.

She planned on creating recycling bins for the city parks- but the COVID-19 pandemic changed her initial plans.

Instead, an email to Monticello Schools Superintendent Eric Olson resulted in recycling bins being placed inside each of the Monticello school buildings.

“How often does a student reach out to you with an idea they propose to do,” Olson said at the March 22 meeting of the Monticello School Board.

“It doesn’t happen every day,” he said.

Olson said it didn’t take long to realize that Megan had an awesome idea. He said he was proud to help bring Megan’s idea to fruition.

Megan said her idea was simple. She just wanted to make the middle school a better place and help students recycle more.

The first of Megan’s recycling bins has been placed at the middle school. Made of wood with the help of Megan’s father Matt Phillips, the recycling bins feature a hand-drawn version of the school’s logo, the Monticello “M” and star.

On top of the recycling bin are suggestions of some things that can be recycled, Megan said, such as candy wrappers and plastic bottles.

The school district provided 44-gallon containers that go inside the bins.

There are four more recycling bins waiting for a couple parts before being placed at Eastview Education Center, Little Mountain Elementary School, Pinewood Elementary School, and Monticello High School. 

During the March 22 meeting of the Monticello School Board, Megan was presented a certificate in recognition of her service project- as well as some words from her school superintendent.

“You’re a leader, and I couldn’t be prouder,” Olson told Megan.

A couple years ago Megan completed a project for her Bronze Award, in which she created candy buckets for military personnel serving overseas.

The recycling bins, which she says took her about 50 hours, are the project she’s doing as she pursues her Silver Award.

“I like painting and art so this was a fun project,” Megan said.

And with her Silver Award project almost in the books, Megan has begun thinking about her final Girl Scout project when she will pursue her Gold Award.

“I would like to build a playground for disabled people,” she said.


Jeff Hage is the managing editor of the Monticello Times. He majored in journalism at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.

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