By: Andrew Light
Last week, WMEAC visited Stepping Stones Montessori School in Grand Rapids, MI to help students build an indoor vermicomposting (worm composting) bin. We provided all of the materials, tools, and knowledge while the students provided all of the hard work and energy!
You might have heard recently that WMEAC announced the addition of some new ‘coworkers’ to the office a few months ago. The WMEAC composting worms have been busy breaking down the food scraps from our staff, as well as teaching kids and adults more about living zero waste. Well, some of those worms are all grown up and ready to move on to bigger and better things. Luckily for them, the students at Stepping Stones Montessori School were more than willing to help them find a new home!
The 1st – 3rd grade students in Stepping Stones’ Hawthorne Room, who will be taking care of the worms, helped us drill holes to aerate the compost bin and prepare bedding by tearing up all the newspaper the bin would need for quite some time. Then, the students put down the necessary layers of bedding so the worms would feel comfortable in their new space. When the worms’ new home was all set, we helped them move in!
As we introduced the worms to the students, we had an opportunity to discuss how a lot of organic waste is taken to the landfill when it could easily be converted to nutrient-rich compost. Instead of dumping that apple core in the trash, these little worms will break it down for us! Composting with worms – or vermicomposting – can provide a great lesson in stewardship, life cycles, and many other environmentally-friendly principles.
Maintaining the bin is simple and when done right, the bin won’t produce unwanted odors. Anyone can make a successful vermicompost bin for their home or office with a little upkeep and patience. The best part is that the nutrient-rich compost these bins create can be mixed in to your flower beds and gardens to grow healthier plants.
WMEAC had a great time working with the students at Stepping Stones, and they are as excited to take care of their new worms as we were. We can’t wait to help bring vermicomposting to more schools around West Michigan, and were so glad to have Stepping Stones as one of our first.