Students learn about caring for the environment in different ways and what better way to understand what happens to our garbage than through the hands-on experience of composting! Students can not only learn about how waste can be turned into a rich soil, but also the related environmental concerns.
There are several ways that schools can participate in a composting. Your school could start a school-wide composting program with outdoor bins on the school grounds. A school wide composting program can engage students of all ages. Want to know more about why this might make sense for your school, click here. Individual teachers can also start a vermicomposting program in their own classroom.
Composting and its benefits can be built into lesson plans through composting-related activities or demonstrations. Regardless of how you want to introduce composting in your school or classroom, we can help. We can provide presentations, information, or even bring a vermicomposting bin to your classroom for a day. Just give us a call!
Outdoor composting on school grounds takes a bit more organization that in-classroom composting; however, outdoor compost bins can take a higher volume of organics than vermicomposting. The means a higher percentage of your schools organic waste can be diverted from landfill and made into compost. There are lots of different options for building or buying compost bins.
Here are a few things you need to consider when choosing an outdoor composting program:
- It is important that you identify a source of brown materials, such as dried leaves, to cover the greens, or organic materials that you add to your pile.
- Individuals need to be identified to take on the responsibility of adding the organics and brown materials to the pile.
- To be effective, the moisture level in the pile need to be monitored and the materials aerated or turned from time to time.
- Management of outdoor bins over the summer months when school is out also needs to be considered.
Want some tips on how to start and maintain a school wide outdoor composting system, click here!
It may sound like a lot of work, but remember that the whole school can be involved. Your compost pile requires a few key things, the food that you are adding along with aeration and possibly adding water to keep the micro-organisms in your pile happy and healthy. You can even compost outdoors all winter!
Vermicomposting with worms allows students to get up-close-and-personal with the food-to-compost process. Red Wrigglers worms are vegetarians and love eating fruit and vegetable scraps. Students will be amazed as the food “disappears” over the days that follow. The compost they produce is very rich and can be used for a multitude of uses.
Here are a few things you should know when considering vermicomposting:
Vermicomposting allows for smaller volumes of organics to be composted than outdoor bins and a regular-sized vermicomposting bin may not be able to handle all of a classroom’s organic waste.
Vermicompost bins do require some upkeep. A properly maintained bin will be relatively odour-free and easy to maintain.
The worms need to be fed on a regular basis and have their habitat checked for moisture levels.
The worm castings (A.K.A: worm poo) have to be removed occasionally, but it is easy to do and the students will have fun digging into the rich soil and separating any worms that remain.
Worms can eat more than their own body weight in food per day!
During the summer months, students can share having the vermicomposting bin at home, teaching their parents how easy it is to compost.
Having a vermicomposting program in conjunction with outdoor composting can give students the benefit of both experiences and extra food from the classroom can be taken outside. If an outdoor program at the school is not possible, students that have home compositing can be encouraged to take the extra food materials that the vermicomposting cannot handle.
For more information on composting see our composting program page.
WE CAN HELP
Regardless of whether you are considering a composting program or just want just want to introduce learning opportunities connected to composting, Green Action Centre can help. Composting can be connected to many areas of the curriculum including science, art, language arts, and math. If you would like to know a little more about composting, check out our composting program information.
Green Action Centre offers a variety of services to schools including presentations on composting for students of all ages, information, advice, as well as conducting school visits to set-up classroom and/or school-wide composting.
If you have questions:
Give us a call: toll free at 1-866-394-8880 or in Winnipeg at 925-3778
Drop us an [email text=”email”]firstname.lastname@example.org[/email].