March 25, 2008--Students from the special education class at Camarillo's Las Colinas Middle School recently visited Agromin's green materials recycling facility in Oxnard to learn about the recycling process. The field trip for students in sixth through eighth grade was also designed to help them understand how to create their own composting pile at school.
"The kids knew about the importance of recycling glass, plastics and paper, but didn't realize that green materials needs to be recycled too," says Laura Wittington, the special education teacher. "They thought the green materials collected at curbside each week was just dumped into the landfill."
The kids were in for some more surprises. "They were shocked to see the amount of garbage that had to be picked out of the green materials because people aren't careful where they put their trash," says Wittington.
"Any garbage, including paper, glass and plastics, has to be removed from the leaves, grass clippings and wood we collect before the materials can be chopped and composted into mulch," says Dave Green, director of sales at Agromin, who conducted the tour. "The students got a firsthand look at what happens when people are careless."
The giant rows of compost at Agromin were a big hit. "The students were impressed that the bacteria than can hurt plants is 'cooked' out during the composting process," says Wittington. "They also liked the coffee grounds mulch pile. They never thought about where these grounds go after people make coffee."
The mulch created from the students' compost pile at Las Colinas will be used in the school's community garden. "When we got back to school after our visit to Agromin, the kids wanted to get going on the compost pile right away," says Wittington. "They told the groundskeeper to make sure to put grass clippings in the pile, and to post a sign so students wouldn't toss leftover food in the pile. They came away from the field trip with a greater understanding of the importance of green recycling. They learned how 'good dirt' is made and to only put plant materials in the green recycling bin."
"We always enjoy teaching kids about green recycling," says Green. "The Las Colinas students are well on their way to creating a successful compost pile and garden."