Ch…ch…ch…Changing School Waste Footprints

Camden County educator Amanda Natalie was awarded a $3,000 grant to establish a recycling and composting program at Pine Hill Middle School. Through this project, students will recognize the importance of becoming environmentally conscious, learn how to educate their community about the importance of composting, and discover the importance of eating foods that have not been treated with fertilizers.

Lessons comparing landfill, recyclable, and composting materials will be covered extensively. Students will generate lessons which will be taught to their peers to ensure everyone is educated about how to sort properly. Students will create all school wide campaign items including flyers, signage for cafeteria and bins, video presentations to be shared on the school website, and layout of where bins should be in the cafeteria. Students will be responsible for hosting a community informational session to promote their campaign. Students will also present to the school board as well as local environmental commission.

Lessons that align with Next Generation Science Standards will include biotic/abiotic factors in an ecosystem, soil layers and formation, decomposition, nutrient cycling, interdependence of organisms and ecosystems (food webs), different methods of fertilizing crops, human body systems, osmosis/diffusion, human impacts from plastic waste, engineering design process, and scientific method. Students will complete a waste audit of materials thrown away in cafeteria before their campaign so that they have baseline data to compare to. Students will collect and analyze data from the waste audit and present this information to their peers Students will generate a survey for their peers regarding recycling and composting (pre-assessment tool).

At the end of the year students will wrap up the composting campaign with a Go-Green fair to present their data. Waste will be collected at various times from the garden, the cafeteria, and classrooms to be composted on a continual basis and added to the garden during the year as it becomes ready. When a surplus of compost is available it will be offered to members of the community.

Effectiveness of this project will be monitored along the way by performing school waste audits (data collection), student-generated presentations/lessons, and peer participation in the campaign.

For more information, contact:

Amanda Natalie, Project Coordinator
(856) 210-0200 (school)