What does it mean to be a sustainability steward? Jemicy joined the Green Schools Alliance with this commitment: “As sustainability stewards, our school will set goals, take action, and monitor and share progress in the three sustainability leadership action tracks:
reduce our climate and ecological impact
educate and engage community
transform our institutional culture
Keri Weber’s Star Group students recently worked on essays reflecting on their stewardship role in the Jemicy community. They take pride in personally contributing to a healthier planet, educating others, and helping to transform our school culture.
We’ve hired some assistants to help with Jemicy’s composting: red wigglers! As their name suggests, these worms are quite active, a trait that enables them to quickly break down compostable food waste into nutrient-rich soil for our gardens. We currently have two worm farms in operation: in Liz’s M Group homeroom, and in Emily’s science room.
Each of these indoor habitats is able to handle a small amount of compost daily, and we hope to transfer growing worm cultures to our outdoor compost bins very soon. Not only do these worms help us with composting; they are also a window into the unique life cycle of creatures we rarely see aboveground.
Students in the lower school worked this week to identify ways to reduce the amount of waste from lunches that ends up in our school trashcans. After discussing the options for different kinds of trash, we practiced sorting items into appropriate containers: trashcan, recycling bin, and compost.
This activity made it clear that packing small amounts of food in reusable containers (not ziplock bags) would reduce the most trash ending up in the landfill. Here are some tips from SuperKids Nutrition to help plan trash-free lunches.
What’s not to love about compost? You take old veggies, guinea pig refuse, shredded newspaper, wood chips, throw them in a bin and a year later, the mixture has been transformed by microscopic organisms into a thing of beauty. We have been composting on a small scale at Jemicy for years, adding refuse from the science room and a few classrooms to our two small composters, and then transferring the decomposed, nutrient-rich soil to our organic garden beds. This year in the Jemicy LMS, we hope to create a larger composting area near the woods to accommodate all of our lunch and garden compostables.
We continue to educate students and the adults in our school about what can and cannot be composted. Plastic straws, most definitely not.
Here is a handy guide from Clean Air Baltimore to help you decide: Compost, or send it to the landfill?