Sixth Grader Excited about Composting, Gardening, and Recycling at School

Berwyn Heights Elementary has been certified as a green school by the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE). One student member of the school’s environmental club wrote about how Berwyn Heights Elementary runs a successful composting and gardening program.

Hi, I’m Zada and I’m in 6th grade at Berwyn Heights Elementary School in Prince George’s County. I’m a member of the school’s environmental club for the second year now. In the environmental club we do many activities. Some things we do are composting, recycling, and trying to be as green as possible!

Composting was the main thing we did. We would compost every week last year. This year we have buckets for compost in the lunchroom and outside classrooms. Every day some sixth graders, including me, collect the buckets from the cafeteria and classrooms and empty the compost. It is later dumped into a larger compost bin that is located outside of our school. In the compost we put in greens and browns. Greens are things like apple cores, banana peels, orange peels, coffee grounds, egg shells, and salad without dressing, cheese or meat. Browns are things like leaves, grass clippings, and hay. Meat, cheese, dressing, and large sticks and twigs cannot be composted. The ratio is every bucket of greens needs three buckets of browns.

When we began composting last year, we only collected food scraps from breakfast. It took us a long time to fill our large compost bin outside. When we finally filled it, we mixed it up really well and then let it “cook.” While it “cooked” (which was really just sitting there breaking down), we took the temperature of it a few times a week. When it was really breaking down the temperatures got as high as 130 degrees! Once during the cooking process, we pulled everything out, mixed it again and then put it back in the bin.

Continue reading