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Composting
 
Schools are great recyclers! They recycle their aluminum cans and they recycle their paper. But what about their food waste, those cafeteria left-over's from preparing the students' breakfast and lunch? This material can be easily recycled through composting, nature's way of recycling. It is the natural process of organic materials (such as food, leaf, and yard waste) breaking down into a valuable soil amendment. Approximately 15 to 20 percent of the daily waste in a school is compostable organic matter. Composting this organic matter on site at a school:
  • Saves money by reducing the school's disposal costs;
  • Enhances an environmental science program with hands-on science activities;
  • Teaches students about the values of composting in the school and at home;
  • Provides a great example of a natural life cycle; and
  • Gives students a feeling of control over their environment.
     
Composting in New Hampshire Schools: A "How to" Guide is available to provide the educator and/or administrator at a school, camp, or other institution with enough background information to decide if they want to start composting organics on site. If the decision is made to compost, the Guide also provides a step by step process on how to set up a composting project, answer possible questions that may arise, and point out and refer to case studies and other resources that are available for the composters. For easier downloading, Composting in New Hampshire Schools: A "How to" Guide has been divided into three sections:


Worm Composting!?!?

What do worms, leftover snacks and New Hampshire classrooms have in common? They make great compost AND an even better teaching tool!!! Worm composting (or "Vermicomposting") uses worms to "recycle" food waste indoors to produce a high quality "soil". This indoor, no-maintenance and odor-free method of composting has led to numerous educational opportunities for discussion and general fun. Children's' fascination with worms allow worm composting to be an easy, inexpensive, and realistic way for children to become involved with the issues of solid waste management. By worm composting in a classroom, educators can promote:
 

  • Environmental Awareness: What is waste? How does our community dispose of it? How much food do we throw away? What is recycling? What can be recycled?
  • Math: Charts, graphs, and measurements of food consumed, reproduction rates, etc.
  • Science: What else lives with the worms? How do the worms reproduce? Do they have eyes? Ears? Skeletons? How do they react to heat? Light? Water? Do plants grow well in compost?
     
To help promote worm composting as a teaching tool and method of waste reduction, THE CLUB has the following resources available for FREE:
 
  • Worms in the Classroom Activity Ideas : An activity booklet that was developed to complement the vermicomposting matching grants program in 1992, that placed worm bins in over 225 New Hampshire classrooms .
  • Worming Your Way to Better Compost!!! : An informative eight page handout on vermicomposting. The handout introduces vermicomposting as an environmentally sound activity, as well as answering some frequently asked questions.
For more information on how to set up your own school composting program or to order a hard copy of these publications, please contact THE CLUB by e-mail at theclub@nrra.net.
 

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