We are a group of primary students with special needs who are very interested in how to make our school better for us and for future students. Some projects that we currently are involved with include growing vegetables hydroponically, having plants in every room in the school, recycling beverage containers and recycling paper. We have noticed that there is a lot of food waste at our school. We are hoping to use vermicomposting, worm composting, to help improve the quality of our soil which is lacking many of the nutrients to help plants grow. We will then take the amended soil to use in our pots and vegetable bins that are kept outside on our school property.
We would like to use a local company as to not have much of a carbon footprint associated with our project- J&C Sod Farm located at 217 Southern Shore Highway, Bay Bulls, NL, A0A 1C0. We would like to purchase a number of these kits to have throughout our school.
Vermicompost Kit: $85.00 includes
1- 1 pound of worms
1- 15 litre bag of premixed bedding
1- 38 litre Rubber Maid container
3- Page info pamphlet with helpful tips
Our plan is to give a short Google Slide presentation to each class and monitor what is being fed to the worms as well as how to properly feed the worms. We did presentations in each class to promote beverage container recycling and all students learned how and what to recycle. We will also promote our vermicomposting through our school newsletter, on our daily announcements and through Twitter. We will also use a bulletin board near our classroom to show what progress has be made.
We feel that this project is something that our students can then continue on with at home if they are interested in it.
Topsail Elementary is a kindergarten to grade four school with a population of 450 students. Students get very excited when involved in hands-on learning activities and vermicomposting is something that they can directly take part in within our school. The children have been very enthusiastic about our worms and many children got to hold a worm for the first time! All of the students were given the opportunity to hold a worm if they wished to do so.
We now have four vermicomposting bins that the students get to ‘feed’ on a rotating schedule. This keeps the project real to them as they are directly seeing the impact the worms are having on the amount of food waste within the school. Once the worms were settled into their new environment, they were able to process ½ a pound of food a day, which turned out to be 2 pounds of food waste that was saved from the garbage per day. This in turn takes a total of 10 pounds of food waste from our garbage bins per week. We needed to purchase small knives and cutting boards to cut up the food for the worms as they will process smaller cut up pieces faster.
By using a local supplier of worms, J&C Sod Farm, we were able to keep our business local and also tell people about where we got the worms from. Hopefully we will generate more business for them as well.
Reflection & Celebration
The children have been fascinated by the worms and how quickly they eat through the waste food. We have talked about how nutrient rich the worm castings (poop) is and they love the fact that we have added ‘poop’ to the plants to help them grow. Talking about poop to any child keeps them engaged and they love it! Parents have reached out to me and have said how excited their child is about the worms!
Many children have spoken to me while on duty, if they pass me in the hallway or if they see me outside and they always ask about the worms. They share stories about worms that they have rescued from around their house. If we can facilitate a love of worms, gardening and composting, it will be a lesson that they will hopefully continue to use and demonstrate as they get older. Composting and soil directly relates to the science curriculum in grades kindergarten, one, two and three.
Our worms have been on Twitter as well! Parents and other schools have liked our tweets as has the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District. We hope to continue with vermicomposting in Topsail Elementary and would like to have bins in many more classrooms.