The Noble Middle School Green Team consists of about two dozen 7th and 8th graders who are actively involved in reducing the school’s solid wastes. Their mission statement is “Our Earth: Our Future: Our chance to make a difference” and they are making a difference! Thanks to a “green mini-grant” from the KIDS Consortium the Green Team kids embarked on reducing the amount of lunch left-overs that head to the landfill. Instead of throwing out these nutrients, the team will be helping fortify the soil!
By mid-September they had two “Compost Tumblers” ready for filling with left-overs from two 7th grade lunches – plus the vegetable scraps from our wonderful kitchen staff. A 7th grade member took the initiative to create teams of 3-4 kids to monitor the collection of left-overs at each lunch. Once the “compostables” are combined into one 5-gallon bucket, they weigh it, add it to a compost tumbler, and turn the tumbler five complete revolutions to give the microorganisms oxygen. When the lid is opened steam gently rises above the “cooking” compost (the internal temperature remained at 110 degrees through November; the temperature is slowly dipping now that winter really has arrived). Thus far more than 400 pounds of kitchen and lunch scraps have been saved from a wasted future in a landfill. These kids are making a difference in how their peers view their lunch left-overs as something of environmental value. The sense of ownership on the part of the Green Team is spilling over to the school culture.
As part of their KIDS Consortium service-learning grant, the Green Team’s next step is to research starting a garden from scratch. By March or April of 2010 they ought to have at least 2 tumblers full of usable compost to enrich the new garden’s soil. As part of their “Greening of NMS” effort in September Green Team members gave each teacher a house plant, which they’ve been tending religiously; their next step is learning about vegetable plants. Hopefully the kids will be able to grow and tend produce to harvest for school next fall. Even if it is “just” a dozen or two tomatoes, just think of their beginnings! Left-overs to compost to soil to a garden!