Volunteers from Lilly’s Garden Committee brought a real hands on composting activity to Forest Avenue fourth graders. The students learned that caring for the land is a civic responsibility. Emphasis was placed on reducing the amount of trash we make and how we can reuse much of what we throw away.
The students were introduced to our First Lady’s first book—American Grown—which discusses Mrs. Obama’s involvement in helping focus on American families living more healthy lifestyles by growing and eating their own produce. To the surprise of most, the current White House garden was planted by children their own age, and that community gardens are a part of American history—that there were other gardeners that occupied the White House. The children were familiar with the Victory gardens grown around the country during WWII encouraged by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
Once familiar with vocabulary used in composting, students were shown samples of household “trash” used in composting—i.e. biodegradable papers, leaves, grass clippings and kitchen scraps. They learned about the green and brown elements as well as air and water needed for a successful recipe for decomposition including what not to include in the compost pile.
The presenters displayed live samples of compost in various stages of decomposition for the students from scraps to finished compost ready to enrich the garden soil. For quick review, the volunteers “packed a lunch”. The children were asked about its contents –what could and could not be included in the compost pile. And last, the children started their own compost pile in the new compost bin purchased for Lilly’s Garden.
Information on recycling and composting from the Clean City Commission was distributed to each student for follow up. A total of six fourth grade classes (136 students) were recipients of a very informative lesson on composting and the process of decomposition. Our presenters were Janice Jackson, Wilma Howard and Ann Oldham.