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Individuals Honored by Zero Hero Award Through Efforts That Benefit Wayne State College, Wayne, Nebraska, America, and Earth

Published Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

The Zero Hero Award recognizes eco-friendly community members.

Jon Webb of Wayne State College, the Wayne Senior Center, Chartwells Dining Services at Wayne State College, Toni Hytrek, and Mark Hammer of Wayne State College have won the Zero Hero Award as outstanding individuals who work above and beyond to reduce, reuse, or recycle in Wayne or the surrounding area. 

“We all live in this world and I just want to do my part. The world is a beautiful place and I’d like to keep it that way for future generations,’’ Webb said. “It’s the small stuff that we can do that truly makes a difference. The things I do would be wasted if it weren’t for the students here at Wayne State College.”

Kathy Mohfeld of Wayne State College nominated Jon Webb as a Zero Hero for his work at the Kanter Student Center on campus that benefits the entire community of Wayne, Neb. 

“Jon has worked to improve recycling efforts in the Kanter Student Center at Wayne State College,’’ Mohfeld said. “He has made it easier to recycle by making containers more visible and he was able to get more containers for the Kanter Student Center. He does a great job in the Kanter Student Center.’’

Mohlfeld works within the Wayne State College Counseling Center as a licensed counselor, academic advisor, and a counseling adjunct faculty member on campus.

Another WSC faculty member, Dr. Laura Dendinger, and a group of business students worked together to launch this second annual Zero Hero Award campaign. Wayne State College online MBA students and the Wayne Green Team encouraged everyone to nominate individuals for the Zero Hero Award on the Wayne Green Team Facebook page this semester. 

“The award recognizes the acts of many people that go unseen yet add up to a significant contribution in Wayne’s effort to reach zero waste,’’ Dendinger said. “We applaud the efforts of those that go the extra mile to help reduce, reuse and recycle. Jon is a great role model for our WSC students in his efforts to recycle. We plan to offer this award once every year to promote our goal of zero waste.’’

Nominees are individuals or groups who are dedicated to ecological friendly initiatives such as reducing water and energy use, recycling, and reducing waste. The campaign will not only recognize outstanding individuals and groups, but will also encourage the community to get involved in green initiatives and to move closer to zero waste. 

The Wayne Senior Center and Chartwells have launched programs to replace Styrofoam serving containers. Chartwells offers a $7 container that individuals may continue to refill rather than use Styrofoam.

Hytrek takes yard waste to compost at a farm outside of Wayne rather than filling the landfill. 

Hammer helped to initiate recycling efforts at Wayne State College, and bikes or walks to campus to teach each day as a professor of biology at Wayne State College. He advises students who are interested in a career as a conservation biologist, physician assistant or occupational therapist, as well as students participating in the pre-Physician Assistant Rural Health Opportunities Program (RHOP).

Hammer has received several grants, including: Nebraska Environmental Trust grant, "Educational Wetland Establishment," Nebraska Consortium for Service-Learning in Higher Education grant "Recycling Programs with BIO 104, Environmental Concerns," and Nebraska State Wildlife Grant "Tallgrass Prairie Restoration at Thompson-Barnes Wildlife Management Area."

“I would like Wayne State College students to have an appreciation of our regional ecosystems. We as a campus have tried to accomplish this is by creating a tallgrass prairie area and incorporating native plants in sustainable landscaping.”
The Wayne Green Team is a non-profit community group that works very hard to ensure Wayne continues to move toward zero waste with eco-friendly efforts in Wayne.

Students participated in various tasks for the project including, but not limited to conducting research, creating criteria for the award recipients, a survey, an online campaign, and a Twitter page for the campaign (@WayneGreenTeam). 

To learn more about The Wayne Green Team, check out their website at www.cityofwayne.org/greenteam. You can also like the Wayne Green Team’s Facebook page or follow the Wayne Green Team on Twitter @WayneGreenTeam.

Anyone involved with a nonprofit (in the greater Wayne area) and in need of student assistance, please contact WSC Professor Laura Dendinger at 402-375-7020 or ladendi1@wsc.edu. For more information, Kathy Mohlfeld can be reached at Phone: 402-375-7321 or kamohlf1@wsc.edu.