by Bella Herz ‘21
For the 2018 – 2019 school year, the composting program led by science teacher Lisa Bailey hopes to evolve on campus by getting students more involved and educated about composting.
Compost is made from decomposed organic materials, such as kitchen waste and as a result is very rich in nutrients. There are many benefits of using compost in a garden including improved moisture retention, weed control, vital nutrients, and disease prevention.
There are also environmental benefits such as reduced water usage, eliminating the need for chemical additives, and reduction in trash.
Ms. Bailey said that one of the challenges many composting programs face is not understanding how to effectively compost. One of the main goals of the green team this year, is to reeducate the KO community so that more good usable compost can be created.
“Because people would consistently throw styrofoam ice cream cups in the composting bin, the community needs to be reeducated about what can and what can’t be composted,” Ms. Bailey said.
While foods like rich greens, coffee grounds, tea bags, fruits and vegetable scraps, and egg shells create a nutrient rich compost, items like meat, paper coffee cups, and newspaper cannot be composted.
Ms. Bailey and the Green Team started the program three years ago. KO’s vision was to manage the composting at the school individually, rather than using a company to assist. At the time this was not feasible, so the community partnered with the company Blue Earth. This company made it possible for the pre consumer and post consumer compost from KO, to be broken down. Blue Earth used a digester to dismantle all that was given to them, and would then deliver the compost for the KO garden.
Ms. Bailey said that the initiative would not have been possible without the help of the SAGE dining crew.
As time progressed, it was collectively decided that the community should be involved to a greater extent. The partnership with Blue Earth will be officially terminated this year, and the composting will be handled in a number of ways allowing the community to be more involved in the entire process.
Another important improvement is the integration of composting, into the freshman science curriculum. “They will be learning and researching about all of the chemistry and science behind composting,” Ms. Bailey said.
As composting is now going to be managed on the KO campus, this will afford the ninth grade students the opportunity to learn in the classroom as well as outside of it.
Freshman and the green team will be researching, designing, and proposing plans to approach an oncampus composting program. Using those proposals, the winning group will get to use their design and build their structure on their own.