Hawthorne Elementary school composting project
Twenty to thirty KIDZONE students at Hawthorne Elementary School, kindergarten to fifth grade, helped to plan and build a compost station with the guidance of adult mentors from the National Civilian Conservation Corps (NCCC)/Americorps and the EPA Region 7 Office in Kansas City. KIDZONE is a collaboration between the Kansas City, Kansas, School District 500 and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City to provide structured learning activities for students after regular school hours.
The students named the compost project, or "Understanding Students Helping Environmental Resources" (USHER). The compost station reinforces the value of "garbage," as students watch grass, leaves, and leftover greens become fine compost.
NCCC/Americorps and EPA held a puppet show and used hands-on activities to show the students how they can make choices that protect, conserve, and reuse natural resources. The compost project was initiated by interest from Hawthorne administrators and teachers, and coordinated by the Boys and Girls Club and YouthFriends Program serving children in the Kansas City Metro Area.
The "story" of the Hawthorne Project is an example of an inner-city conservation project that other students and schools can replicate in their neighborhood. Kidzone students at Hawthorne Elementary School presented the compost to approximately 50 other students at a celebration event.
Hawthorne science teachers plan to incorporate the compost bin into new science club activities. These science club students will learn about the composting process as they help maintain the bin. Hawthorne Elementary School is now interested in developing learning gardens, i.e., butterfly gardens, where all Hawthorne students can apply the compost and complete the recycling and reusing cycle.
An additional result of the Hawthorne composting project is interest from other Kansas City, Kansas, District 500 Schools, in developing other types of composting operations to demonstrate the variety of ways students can recycle and protect natural resources in their own inner-city neighborhood. Quindaro Elementary School is prepared to begin a new composting project and has interest in community gardens as well. Trees supplied by the National Tree Trust, McPherson County, Kansas, may also be incorporated into the school projects.
EPA Participants: Stacy McVicker and Marcia Dickinson.
Others involved include: Jim Callier, Chet McLaughlin, Gary Bertram, Mendy Phillips, Dorothy Posey (puppet show) and Bill Landis (press release).