School Composting Project in Philadelphia

Grantee: New Foundations Charter School (NFCS)
Philadelphia, PA

Project Title: NFCS School Composting Project

Grant Description: Students have learned first hand what composting is, how they can do it, and the impact it has in the garden’s overall health. The school’s teachers are engaged in lesson planning that exposes students on the do’s and don’ts of composting and the study of diverse organisms. During the summer program students were exposed to the process of composting from waste management to how it decomposes and is transformed into usable soil for their garden to produce healthy and consistent crops. In addition, to their after-school clubs, and service-based programs permitted students get a hands-on opportunity to support the compost collection by collecting waste, loading it into the composting bins and turning it, to insure the decomposition process was making progress.

Although the school initially set out to make compositing bins using wooden pallets, they soon realized they had to revise their plan. Having the waste so easily accessible to wildlife became a safety concern in the community garden. To decrease the attraction of animals they replaced these bins with enclosed compost bins with lids. Additionally, while the composting manual is still in the developing stage they have been able to utilize a cohort of teachers committed to environmental sciences to support the completion of the manual. The NFCS Environmental Science and Ecology Professional Learning Community has been supportive in designing lessons, school-wide programming and special events to help build interest in the garden and the composting awareness manual.

Program Impact: The composting program is evolving into a sustainable and environmentally friendly program that meets both academic and community needs. Students in grades K-12 have been impacted by the composting initiative either through service learning activities, science instruction and/or extracurricular involvement.

Overall, the composting efforts have made a lasting impact on their school, and they will continue to tweak and turn over new ideas to better support the health of our community garden.