Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Kids in Action, Learning about waste

by Haley Mountain, RE Sources Green Classrooms Coordinator

It was quite a squirmy morning for all the Kendall 1st graders last week when we helped them complete their Green Classroom Action Project - building a worm compost bin. With the help of our friends Beth and Amberose from Washington State University - Whatcom County Extension, the students received a hands-on introduction to their newest classroom residents, a pound of red wigglers. 

The red wigglers added to the compost bin will be in charge of breaking down food scraps left from the 1st grader's snacks and lunches. An important part of the lesson from Beth and Amberose was learning what the worms like to eat - things like paper, pretzels, fruits, and vegetables - an what can make them sick - products that contain meat or dairy and, of course, any non-organic items like plastic or metal. 

Before the worms were added to their new compost container, the students were able to personally welcome each new wiggler and observe them up close at every life stage. Most students observed that their new friends would much rather be tucked in dark, moist bedding than squirming around on their dry hands in the fluorescent light.

"Bedding" for the worms was created by soaking newspaper, paper bags, and egg cartons in water overnight. The 1st graders helped squeeze out the excess moisture and fluff the bedding in the new compost container. At the end of the school year, the worms and the nutrient-rich soil they created will be added to the school garden and the compost bin will be ready to begin anew this Fall. 

Interested in creating a worm bin for your classroom? Contact us today to get started. Click here to learn more about creating a personal worm compost bin.

Want your children or students to participate in a Green Classroom action project? 
Schedule a brief info session for your next staff, PTA, or teacher meeting to gain a better understanding of how you, your students, and your school community can take the next step in greener education. Contact us at schools@re-sources.org or call (360) 733-8307 to set up a presentation today. 

Green Classroom Certification is a program to help teachers integrate conservation education into curriculum and initiate positive action in the classroom. More at re-sources.org.