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Former Educator Helping Save Planet Through Creative Recycling

Former Educator Helping Save Planet Through Creative Recycling

Mrs. Ponder, founderAwards display

Meet Mrs. Jacqueline Ponder, a former educator and founder of the nonprofit organization Unnatural Resources Institute. Mrs. Ponder moved to Greenville in 1989 and became an Elmhurst Elementary School PTA volunteer working to find supplies for the science room. She and her husband also made equipment from unnatural resources. This was when they had an idea about creating other useful things from available unnatural resources to recycle materials and reuse them as much as possible.

“I asked the principal if we could have a fair and see what the students could make,”  Mrs. Ponder recalls. “The fair was held on the stage, and the students made 125 great entries in all subjects.” The Pitt County PTA Advisory Committee also offered to help  Mrs. Ponder go even further with this fantastic idea and to put on a Pitt County Unnatural Resources Fair in Ayden High School's Recreation and Arts Center.

“I went to almost all the schools in Pitt County and put on a show to explain what an unnatural resources fair was and how to enter,” said  Mrs. Ponder.
Later, the Carolina East Mall hosted the fair for 13 years. And for more than 16 years, the fair has been hosted by Greenville Convention Center. Even though the fair has free admission, the Unnatural Resources Institute became a nonprofit as it expanded over the years and accepts donations and support from the community. 

Last year, Unnatural Resources Fair marked its 30th anniversary with another successful show and competition presented at the Greenville Convention Center. 

Mrs. Ponder says her inspiration comes from seeing the joy and excitement of the participants when winning an award for their imagination and creativity.

This year’s Unnatural Resources Fair will be held from April 21 to April 23 at the Greenville Convention Center, and you all are officially invited and encouraged to participate!

It is the only fair of its kind with 11 categories, and participants' ages range from kindergarten to senior citizens who enter creative projects and win awards. The fair also teaches the value of our used resources. “The more we reuse our resources, the less waste our counties have to dispose,” shared Ms. Ponder.

For more details about how to enter, visit the link below:

WHEN: April 21, 2023, 9 am - 8 pm
                 April 22, 2023, 9 am - 6 pm
                 April 23, 2023, 12 pm - 4 pm
WHERE: Greenville Convention Center
ADMISSION: Free (donations are appreciated)