How will you resolve to help the earth in 2020? Here are some starter suggestions from Jemicy’s JE community:
I Group recently traveled to two Jemicy family-owned businesses, Bella Vita Farm and Ashton Manor Environmental, that incorporate environmental sustainability into their missions and practices. Upon their return, I Groupers reflected on their experiences and observations:
Jacob: “At Ashton Manor, when workers plant, the extra soil that is dug up is saved for use in other projects. Ashton Manor also repaired all of their own equipment and they kept bolts that were from older pieces of equipment and used them later on to repair trucks and other equipment. Also, instead of buying their own wood chips, they have a machine that shreds logs and turns them into wood chips. Something else that was new to me was the fact that you can turn old oil and gas into other products. They also give old tires to a company to reuse.
In the second place we went on the field trip, they had a hydroponic farm which is a farm without soil and with just water. The plants grow in the water without soil. They had tons and tons of fish. If one fish got sick or a fin or another body part started rotting, they would use the fish as fertilizer. After learning about the fish, we found out they used the fish poop in a special machine. In the center of the water in the machine was all of the nutrients of the poop. Then, they put the nutrients in the hydroponic tanks. Another thing that amazed me there is that they never let in new water unless some evaporated. They would reuse and clean the water.
At the same company, they had an ax-throwing business. At the ax-throwing, they demonstrated how to throw an ax. They also told us about how they reuse target boards. Some of the boards they make furniture out of and the others they gave to a neighbor who burns them for heat. “
Olivia: “I group went on a field trip to Max Schwartz’s dad’s sustainable and Chance’s mom’s aquaponics farm. First, we had to take an hour bus ride to Max’s farm. When we got off the bus it was absolutely freezing outside. After, we went into a shed where they would fix different machines such as cars, snow plows and more. Later, we went back outside and got to see how all the different machines worked and even got to operate some of them,we also got to see a wood chipper make wood chips. Next, we went to see all the different plants that they got from all different parts of the country. Then, they showed us different parts of where they work in the building. And finally we planted trees and then got on the bus. I think it was a wonderful field trip.”
Will: “Bella vita Farm was so cool. They used fish poop as fertilizer for plants. They have so many tilapia and koi. It was really hot in there and I was surprised how little algae was in the tanks. From my experience, I get algae in my fish tanks all the time. They put molasses in the water to turn the water brown and block out the sun. They don’t use pesticides. They use lady bugs to kill aphids and fly strips to control flies. I wish there were more farms like this.”
Paige: “At Bella Vita, they rarely have to get new water, because instead of getting rid of the water they clean the dirty water and then put it back. At Ashton Manor, they turn excess wood into wood chips, recycle oil, bolts, nuts, and tires, use mostly native plants and trees, and use leftover soil.”
Max S.: “They had a huge hydroponic greenhouse. What is a hydroponic greenhouse? it’s basically: fish poop, and then the fish poop is used to grow plants, and the plants grow in water, plus the fish are used as food for people. They have 50 chickens and sell their eggs, but the egg cartons are recycled. “
Ava S.: “Once we were done learning about the ladybugs that eat aphids, we got to try parsley, mint ,and a banana shaped cucumber.”
Nate: “This trip changed my thinking about how to be more sustainable.”
Hannah: “ They use fish waste as fertilizer and reuse most of their water.”
Milo: “Bella Vita reuses wood scraps as fuel.”
Hayden: “They let us run around in the cut cornfield, and it was so big and the air was so fresh. You could jump over the low parts of the cut corn stems, and there was so much room to run around – I loved it.”
Zac S.: “At Ashton Manor, my favorite part of the trip was planting a tree. I learned that they fixed broken machines with out getting a new machine, and I liked using the big power machines.”
Harper: “When we went to the greenhouse we had to step inside hydrogen peroxide so we wouldn’t leave any chemicals or dirt from our feet.”
Parker: “I had a lot of fun at Ashton Manor. AND THEY LET US IN FOR FREE!!!!! And I also learned that they fix machines and they recycle tires and they reuse nuts and bolts. AND THEY LET ME DRIVE A MINI EXCAVATOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Katie: “We looked at all the different ways they help to save the environment. It was so cool. They recycled the oil, they reused things that they were broken, and they fixed all the damaged products. We went to look at how they worked in the office to reuse paper. They worked on computers to save a lot of paper.”
Enrique: “My favorite part was when I was riding the machines. Also we planted trees. They told us that they recycle oil and wood.”
Jordan: “At Ashton Manor they did a lot of stuff for the environment. They plant trees and other plants. They recycle a lot of stuff like nuts and bolts, tires, and oil, and they plant native plants.”
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:
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.