Volunteers build composting systems at Waterman Elementary

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 7:21 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - On Friday, volunteers came together at Waterman Elementary School in Harrisonburg to build two new composting systems for elementary schools in the city. The project was made possible through a partnership with local nonprofit, Vine & Fig as part of its Educational Outreach Program.

“Our third-grade team has been working on how they can incorporate hands-on learning and project-based learning and helping our students learn how they can make a change for the better in our world. So, Vine & Fig has been helpful at laying the groundwork and helping our students understand what composting is,” said Courtney Sokolowski, ISTEM and advanced learning specialist at Bluestone Elementary School.

The Mennonite Carpenters Guild helped build the two large three-section composting bins to go to Bluestone and Waterman Elementary Schools.

The composting process involved placing food scraps in the first bin, mixing them with soil and things, like leaves and wood chippings, and churning it all together to create compost that goes back into the soil and helps plant growth.

“For me, it’s important to provide opportunities for my students to take what we learn in the classroom and take it outside to the real world to have them interact with nature and witness the cycles that happen throughout,” said Ali Haverty, a first-grade teacher at Waterman Elementary School.

The new systems will provide educational opportunities for students, create an environmentally friendly resource to use in the school gardens, and improve the soil around the area.

“We have a lot of food scraps with our schools, and I think there’s sometimes a surplus of soil that comes out of this at the end , so I think there are ways to not just use our soil at our school but also donate that across the community,” said Sokolowski.

The new systems will be high capacity and rodent proof at Waterman Elementary. It will go inside the school’s garden.

“I’m excited for the students to start using it, for the community to be involved in the maintenance of it, and to just to see the extensions beyond the school and the connections that are made,” said Haverty.

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