It’s back! May 2-8, 2010, is International Compost Awareness Week, the time to share the wonders of composting with any youngsters you know. Preoccupied adults tend to zone out when the subject of composting comes up, but not kids! They naturally get excited about making compost.
From what we hear, kids are emerging as major movers and shakers in the home composting world. Inspired by what they learn at school, kids come home and ask Mom and Dad why they don’t compost. Next thing you know, there’s a new bin in the yard, and Mom and Dad are finally composting their yard and kitchen waste into garden riches.
With numerous excellent compost teaching modules available for grades 3-5, many more kids are receiving compost education compared to adults. Compost education programs are increasingly available to adults, yet the unenlightened among us sometimes have a hard time getting past the perceived “ick factor” of composting. But kids relish the squishes and squiggles that come with turning organic matter into supper for the soil. They are composting naturals.
hether they learn at home or at school, we can only hope that kids who grow up putting the kitchen scraps into the compost pail instead of the trash will keep up that practice all their lives. As adults, they’ll teach their partners and their children and grandchildren and so on, spreading the word—and the compost—to future generations of good soil stewards.
2010 Compost Awareness Week poster
Resources for Young Minds
The 2010 Compost Awareness Week theme, “Compost – Recycling for a Greener Tomorrow” – naturally leads toward enriching young minds.
If you’re teaching composting at home, Texas A&M’s Composting for Kids shows kids in action, making and using yard waste compost.
For elementary grade students, you can’t beat worms as composting teachers. Michigan State University’s Worm Bin Project is simple to follow. Schools in Lansing, Michigan use it to teach composting to over 1800 students each year.
Designed for grades 3-5, Oklahoma State’s Mighty Earth Movers teaches science, language, and of course, worms!
For high school students, Cornell University’s Composting in the Classroom includes sections on capturing released gases and culturing fungi, plus you can download their 20-minute video, It’s Gotten Rotten.
I’ve been out on the town with my worm bin the past two weekends, doing my part to raise compost awareness. While I was busy wrangling worms, the U.S. Composting Council chose a colorful poster created by 5th grader Max A. Million of NettletonElementary School, Duluth, Minnesota, to spread the word: Compost! Recycling the way nature meant it to be.
This time last May, Barbara addressed the question, “Is it okay NOT to compost” for Mother Earth News. Follow the link from “Compost Awareness Week” to see what she had to say. Meanwhile, Max’s poster is right on the mark and makes a good argument to use when you’re encouraging friends and family to make composting a part of their regular routines. There’s nothing natural about enclosing organic materials—everything from wilted lettuce and carrot peels to grass clippings and autumn leaves—in a plastic bag and sending them off to a landfill. Nor is it natural—or efficient—to grind up vegetable scraps in a garbage disposal and send those particles into the sewage system. That might seem more Earth-friendly than putting them into the garbage, but it uses more water and contributes to the costs of municipal water treatment.
Nutrients that come out of the soil should be returned to the soil whenever possible. That’s recycling the way nature meant it to be.
The second week of May is Compost Awareness Week, and we're getting into the swing of things by inviting some company to visit. Want to join the party? Email us and share your thoughts on what compost means to you!
I believe there is no store bought product better for the garden than compost, and I believe it’s the single most important ingredient we can add to our gardens. Even better, it’s free and we can make as much of it as we want! It helps add life and fertility to the soil while reducing or even eliminating the need for potentially harmful synthetic fertilizers. It improves soil drainage yet allows it to retain sufficient moisture. Compost helps create the type of soil structure that is critical for allowing nutrients and water to be absorbed, and roots to spread. It protects plants from certain diseases, moderates pH, feeds earthworms, supports beneficial microorganisms, is known to be a growth stimulant and even buffers toxins in the soil. Even more, the ingredients that are used to make compost are the very things that are putting tremendous stress on our landfills and adding dangerous methane gas to our atmosphere. Keeping those ingredients at home not only helps our plants, it helps protect our planet too! Is it no wonder then why I am such a raving fan of compost?