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Guinness record-breaker earns student state award


The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) has named Miami University graduate student Brad Martin as winner of its annual youth leadership award for a "crazy idea" to break the world's record for the longest line of aluminum cans and thereby increase awareness of the need to recycle among Clermont County residents.

Master’s students in Miami’s Institute of Environmental Sciences (IES) are required to participate in a yearlong public service project with other IES students. Assigned to work with Clermont County's office of environmental quality, Martin suggested sponsoring the innovative can lineup.

He then helped organize collecting, transporting and neatly aligning 30,612 cans. The line of cans was assembled during a seven-hour period on May 14 at New Richmond Elementary School.

Community volunteers, children and IES team members worked together on the project, which not only crushed the previous Guinness Book of World Records mark, but also boosted Clermont County’s recycling rate.

“Some dismissed it as a college stunt, but Brad’s efforts helped refocus attention on one of the best ways to save energy - recycling,” said the OEC in announcing the Sara J. Mielke Memorial Award for Youth Leadership.

Currently a second-year master’s student in Miami’s IES program, Martin was nominated for the OEC award by Mark Boardman, IES director. “Brad has contributed to environmental education in many ways,” said Boardman, “but this project stood out.”

Martin, who is expected to graduate this spring, earned his undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies from Miami in 2003. He has worked in the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s education department and is currently a graduate assistant for Project Dragonfly, a Miami science education program.

OEC is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to inform, unite and empower Ohio citizens to protect the environment and conserve natural resources. Background on the project is here.


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