May 25, 2012
For more information, please contact Nongluk Tunyavanich or Bonnie Prigge at 573-265-2993 or by email at email@example.com
Bourbon Elementary School students learn benefits of composting
Third and fourth-grade students at Bourbon Elementary School focused on this lesson during a compost education presentation May 16.
The Meramec Regional Planning Commission scheduled professional educator Stan Slaughter of Tall Oak Productions, LLC of Lee’s Summit, Mo., to present to 14 elementary and secondary schools in the Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District (ORSWMD). The program was made possible through a grant from ORSWMD.
Slaughter explained to Bourbon Elementary students that making a compost pile at home might be easier than they thought. Slaughter said they need to start with dead leaves and grasses, or “the browns,” then add food they might ordinarily throw away, such as an unfinished sandwich or fruits and vegetables.
Slaughter cautioned the students to make sure the food is covered up with more leaves on top, so animals don’t disturb the compost pile. He said adding worms would also help as the mixture of waste turns into nutrient-rich fertilizer. The worms and bacteria break down the compost, Slaughter noted.
To help illustrate the process of food and leaves decomposing into compost, Slaughter used a PowerPoint presentation and sang several songs with his guitar. He made sure to keep the students involved throughout the program by including hand motions and sing-alongs. Songs included “The Garbage Blues,” “Dirt Made My Lunch,” “The Garden Song,” and “Put Me in the Compost Pile.”
Students also performed a skit entitled “The People Pile.” Slaughter said he wrote the skit, which he sends to the schools before he visits. During the performance, students acted out being part of a compost pile. Students represented leaves, food, heat, bacteria and moisture to illustrate the compost creation, or “people pile.”
At the end of the program, Slaughter let students view a finished compost product. By placing a zoom USB microscope into the soil, students could see a close-up of the compost, complete with worms, on the big screen.
Before dismissing, Slaughter fielded questions from the students regarding the compost process. Students had great interest in creating their own compost piles and were also very intrigued by the worms in their compost habitat.
The compost education program has been scheduled for 11 schools for the first part of May to coincide with International Compost Awareness Week. The remaining three schools will have the program presented in the fall. The Ozark Rivers region includes the counties of Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington.
Slaughter, dubbed the Eco-Troubadour, has been an award-winning solid waste, recycling and composting educator for more than 20 years. While presenting to elementary schools, Slaughter includes a lively musical assembly with a PowerPoint presentation. While presenting to secondary schools, Slaughter either conducts a large group presentation or a series of lectures in science classes.
Additional information about Slaughter and his program can be found at www.compost-education.com. For more information on solid waste issues, contact Nongluk Tunyavanich at 573-265-2993 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.