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Project Profile

Project Title:
It isn't Easy being Green
Initiative:
School Name:
Dr. S.E.McDowell
School board / First Nations school jurisdiction:
Western Québec School Board
Project Theme:
Grade Level:
Subject Areas:
City:
Shawville
Province/Territory:
Quebec
Community Partners:
Currently we do not have any partners associated with this project, but the process of getting a partnership is ongoing.

It isn't Easy being Green

A green muppet once said " It isn’t easy being green." When it comes to a school setting, he's right. Not only is there not enough money in our school budget to be as green as we would like, but you also have to convince your colleagues to join such an adventure.
At McDowell, I'd like to work with my class to establish a school-wide compost program. This program would target the classrooms, cafeteria and staffroom. Students would start the project by researching what items may go into the compost and design posters advertising this information. Students would then make mini presentations to each classroom and then would give 13" filtered compost bin for each classroom. My class chose these bins as they thought teachers would be more inclined to allow composting in their classrooms if the smells were reduced.
Once given the bins students from the 4/5 class would collect bins on a daily basis, the compost into our classroom bin and then weigh it. We want to track of the weight of the compost to see how many pounds in waste we have saved from going to the landfill and how much money we could save the school with this compost plan. We would track this information for a full calendar year. Following the weighing, students would then take the compost outside into the garden compost bins and when ready, will use the dirt from the compost to beautify our school grounds with flower beds in designated areas.

Update (March-08-11)

My title says it all. We planned on commencing this project at the beginning of January. Unfortunately, our compost bins were sent to the wrong school. Once everything got cleared up, we got well on our way. Students made posters to display to the rest of the school, what could be composted. Then, the students went from class to class making presentations. By the second week of February our compost program was in full swing. All of the staff and students have embraced the idea of composting. Students in room 30 on a weekly basis argued who got to collect the compost that week. To resolve that problem, a schedule had to be developed so that the students may see that eventually they will get a turn at collecting the compost. For the month of February, on average we collected about 5 pounds of compost per day and in one month room 30 students have collected 103 pounds of compost in all. Enough compost to already fill one of the outdoor compost bins.

Update (January-12-12)

It isn't always easy being green. Sometimes you have the challenge of convincing colleagues to get on board with what you want to do. That was the case at first. They did compost, but did not want to be involved in taking it outside. That was my class' responsibility. Along with that responsibility, we weighed every bin, every day until the end of the year. Up until June 23rd the students had collected 573 lbs of compost. That group of students were proud of what they accomplished. They convinced their peers to compost and not send all of those compostables to the landfill.
When September rolled around, all of the staff asked when composting would be starting up. They were all keen to continue the program. The challenge this year was getting a new, younger group of students involved. In the end, students from our school continued the composting in various degrees. My group of students collected from less classes as it took this group too long to collect from the entire school. From September to December my new group of students collected 193 pounds bringing the grand total of collected compost to 766 pounds. The older grades took upon themselves to compost their snack leftovers and then bring it outside. The life skills students volunteered to collect all of the bins and clean them on of weekly basis in order to cut down on the smell and fruit flies.
The project did not turn out the way I had foreseen it. Yes we did not weigh every piece of compost, but we accomplished something even bigger. We got more of the student body of Dr. S.E. McDowell involved instead of just one class. Each class now has taken up the responsibility to compost on a daily basis. There is no need for one particular group of students to remind others of why composting is so important. Composting is now a part of McDowell's subconscious.