This is the first part of EcoSSIStem's six-part Compost Series, based on our project design and process. Stay tuned for more!
Student club/organization: Global Issues Network Club
Start/end date: 2016-17 school year
Description: We decided to begin the Compost Project to make change in the world.
Purpose/Mission: Our mission is to solve the global issue in hand today.
Gaia nature conservation
Through a teacher connection, we learned about Gaia Nature Conservation, a local NGO dedicated to environmental conservation and consultation. I sent them an email detailing the kind of project we were envisioning and Ms. Huyen, their founder, replied back to me with the best possible answer. They were very experienced with composting and would be happy to guide us -- with no extra expense!
I just have to say that Ms. Huyen could not have been more helpful in this project, and I would highly recommend Gaia Nature Conservation for any future environmental endeavors!
First informational session
Partnered with Gaia, we invited the heads of our school caterers, gardeners, and administrative team (including our principals, associate head of school, and head of school) to an educational after-school session on composting. We, too, needed to be educated -- on the different kinds of models, compostable materials, etc. Amazingly, Gaia offered to completely take on the educator role.
In terms of information, we covered:
the basics of composting (anaerobic decomposition)
the dangers of poor waste management and landfills
what is and isn't compostable
possible compost bin models (benefits/drawbacks)
Afterwards, in groups, we began planning:
Members from all stakeholder groups learned about the environmental issue of poor waste management and the purpose of composting
We established relationships with the Caterers and gardeners for future coordination.
We decided on the bin model -- rotating tumbler bins.
We established a rough plan of deadlines for our next steps...
This established a strong foundation for our next step: a comprehensive Compost Proposal!
Coming up soon...!
Make sure to meet with your school administrators beforehand to run through your vision for the project -- the scale, which divisions will be involved, and the resources required. They'll give you really helpful insight into the "big picture" barriers you may expect. Remember to also ask which key administrators you should invite to your informational session to address concerns (food and safety, permission for space, etc).
Also, make sure to include your different stakeholders in the planning process: representatives from the gardening, catering, and administrative teams, in addition to teachers and students!