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Homeschoolers Build Compost Bin at Center for the Environment

May 13, 2010

Category: Environmental Science


Six home-schooled students from Rowan County built a three-chambered compost bin May 1 near the Center for the Environment facility on the Catawba College campus.

The students, ages 14-18, used wood and chicken wire to build the three-by-three-foot chambers, which will hold garden clippings and leaves as well as vegetables from the Center's kitchen.

CribbKurt Cribb, the center's special projects coordinator, says the three chambers allow staff to move the compost into successive containers to facilitate the creation of the nutrient-filled humus.

Composting has numerous benefits, Cribb says. It keeps yard trimmings and food residuals out of landfills and creates a useful product from organic waste. It also has the ability to help regenerate poor soils and retain moisture. In addition, compost suppresses plant diseases and pests, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers.

Anna McKinzie of the Rowan County Home School Association arranged the community service project. She notes that the students learned life skills through the project. They learned how to follow instructions and work together. "They learned that you have to be patient," she says. "You have to share tools. You have to be forgiving of others' mistakes. It was very valuable. And the kids had a great time."

The community service project is the second these students have completed for the center. They built two bridges last fall to span canals that beavers had dug, restoring the trail system.

McKinzie said helping with a project like the composting site has lasting benefits for the students. "Like our bridge-building project on the preserve, it is helping the college and the community to go more green."

Cribb is appreciative of the students' work. "They are enthusiastic supporters of the work we do at the Center and are always willing to help," he says. "We appreciate their initiative."



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