Tag Archives: education

New Rochelle Trinity Students Digging In Dirt and Loving It

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Inspecting Soil Samples

What happens to the food waste that New Rochelle students are sorting out in the lunchroom to be composted? How does composting work and is it really worth the effort? Those were questions that New Rochelle Trinity 5th graders are learning the answers to.

We Future Cycle, a not-for- profit organisation specialized in large scale sustainability programs has been working with Trinity Elementary school and its 1000+ students for years now. Source separation and words like commingled and compost are second nature to these kids.

In classroom presentations, students learned what happens to food that is put into a landfill, they learned about harmful Methane as potent green house gas and  large contributor to global warming and they learned about the chemical processes that take place inside a compost pile. Giggles and audible gasps were heard when they learned that each one of them is a decomposer as the banana that might go into their mouth does not come out quite like a banana again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe best part was digging in the dirt as they got to examine up close and personal four different soil samples. Inspecting them while looking for color, texture,  water retention capabilities and  organic matter content gave them a deep understanding of the connection between healthy soils and its ability to grow food.

Each worm they found was greeted with cheers and great enthusiasm.

Trinity’s 5th graders have learned now that treating food waste as garbage is wasting a valuable resource. Making compost from food waste and leaves is making black gold, and it saves a lot of money.

For more information:

https://wefuturecycle.com/2014/11/20/why-food-composting-can-save-westchesters-taxpayer-money-big-time/

 

 

 

New Rochelle Davis 1st Graders Helping The Earth

” I reuse by using a plastic container for lunch and a metal bottle” writes and illustrates Amanda Koffler.

We Future Cycle recently did a refresher class in all classrooms of New Rochelle Davis Elementary School. Students learned more about how bad garbage was for the environment, and that there is no “away” on this Earth.

Ms Curry’s First Grade class was all fired up and decided to write a book on how they will make a difference and help this Earth.

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Rabaneles

I was very impressed. Jefferson Rabanales wrote a “How to” story on sorting. He titled it “How to recycle” and outlined clearly the steps.

  1. First you eat your snack or your lunch
  2. you find the correct bin
  3. now you put the stuff in the correct bin

Nadia Morales very nicely color coded her picture and summarized : “I help the Earth because I recycling”

Abigayle Mills outlines that she helps the Earth by always bringing reusable water bottles.

Nalani Canales re-purposes materials to make new  things out of it. “I help the Earth because I reuse a shoebox to make a mailbox”

Juliana Rubino has the right idea. “I clean up the Earth because I clean up the Earth every day”

Every single one of Ms Curry’s students pledged to help the Earth. Way to go!

Recycling at a Middle School? Not for the faint hearted but New Rochelle Isaac Young MS pulled it off flawlessly

Any parent of a middle schooler can attest to the level of difficulty of making their youngster do anything out of the ordinary, especially if it does not involve electronics.

New Rochelle Isaac Young MS just joined the growing group of schools to have introduced the We Future Cycle Recycling Program. This program reduces waste by sorting materials into excess liquid, recyclable material, compost and untouched food to be donated. Isaac Young MS results were particularly astounding.

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348 lbs of unsorted garbage

From 348 lbs down to a mere 7.5 lbs, from 20 bulging and dripping bags to one single fluffy one.

Under the guidance of Assistant Principal Dan Gonzales and Head Custodian Bill Coleman, the school systematically put the program in place. The We Future Cycle Executive Director presented to all teachers, all security staff, all custodial and night clean staff and finally to all the students the detrimental effects of garbage on our environment and how easy it is to sort the waste into recyclable and compostable avenues.

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This is what 7.5 lbs of soft plastic looks like.

Teachers reported how shocked they were to learn about the cost of garbage removal to the tax payer and to society at large. Students reported that they had no idea that something as easy as sorting could make such a huge difference.

All of Isaac Young 6th graders had gone through the program already in their elementary schools and fell right back into the routine. 7th and 8th graders are adjusting nicely to the “new normal”. Both lunchroom cleaners as well as the head custodian are reporting that they were skeptical in the beginning but upon seeing the amazing results are fully on board.

We Future Cycle is excited to be also part of the newly created Recycling Club to bring even more environmental awareness to the students. Plans are in place to use the lunchroom walls for student made educational materials outlining the environmental foot print and end of life cycle challenges of packaging materials they hold in their hand on a daily basis.

Recycling at a Middle School, not for the faint hearted but New Rochelle Isaac Young MS pulled it off flawlessly. Way to go!

New Rochelle Columbus Students Pledging to Make Good Choices

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Principal Michael Galland introduces We Future Cycle

As a sustainability consultants to the largest school districts in Westchester County, We Future Cycle presenters get to talk to many students, personally my favorite part of the job.

I usually bring a full bag of all kinds of packaging material which I theatrically empty onto a table in front of the students and then neatly arrange the empty bottles, empty cups, empty wrappers, empty boxes, empty bags, empty juice pouches. I remain quiet while listening to the students wondering aloud what I was doing with all that garbage. Some positively snare at it.

I then ask the students what I brought them, holding up a random empty packaging item. A kindergarten student would tell me exactly what I held in my hand…a bottle, ….a can…. a fork. By 2nd grade latest,  I get disgusted shout outs of “garbage!”, or “trash”…..with the occasional “recycling” thrown in.

I start by telling them that I did not bring them trash. I pause. They are quiet and bewildered. Then I tell them that I did not bring them recycling. Again I pause. By now, the students are clearly confused, but their interest is very much peaked, there is no sound to be heard, they are anxiously awaiting my answer. And then I tell them, that I brought them material and they decide every time they discard something if it becomes recycling or trash, just by choosing the right bin. Walking them through the example of building with lego brings the concept “many small pieces make something usable, which can be broken down again into small pieces” very much home to them. They got that. When I asked them if they would ever consider throwing their lego in the garbage, they emphatically call out “no” and when I ask them if they ever considered throwing their left over sandwich into the lego box, they paused for a split second and also called out “no”, but in that split second, they got it. They got that everything has its place and mixing it is no good.

Teaching them from here on was a breeze. At the end,  when I asked them if they are going to make good choices now as to where they put their material, I got an enthusiastic positive response. New Rochelle Columbus students are pledging to make every time they have to discard something the right choice! Way to go, Columbus!

 

New Rochelle Barnard even Pre-K Students Sorting Recyclables Flawlessly

New Rochelle Henry Barnard students are well into their second year participating in the We Future Cycle recycling program. From time to time, we go back into the classrooms to do more education around the topic and even the littlest ones are now sorting flawlessly.

They know what goes in the green bin, and what goes in the blue bin. And they are happily piping up when I was “making a sorting mistake”.

Teaching children young to care about the environment, to sort materials and foster the understanding that nothing is disposable is the key to creating a generation of kids that care.

Barnard’s students are leading the way!

 

We Future Cycle brings “Science of Composting” to White Plains Church St Students Learning About Healthy Soils

3ba6684d-abfe-412a-923e-0d5c14d498b8White Plains Church St Elementary Students are coming full circle. We Future Cycle just did a planting project with 4th grade using the schools own compost.

While recycling and placing their food waste into compost is now second nature to the students, the connection to what happens to that food waste and how it is used had not really been made.

Last spring, We Future Cycle implemented the second step of the program, which is tackling the classroom snack trash. Students are learning that food waste is not trash, but a valuable resource. Part of that program is to feed the apple cores and banana peels from snack also to compost. Last spring and this fall, students collected the organic snack waste in a little pail, brought it outside to the court yard and placed it into the composter, and now ….we got to harvest our first compost, going full circle.

We Future Cycle’s “Science of Compost” workshop explains the science behind food waste decomposition as well as its connection to healthy soils. Students got to examine closely different soil samples and make observation as to the fertility, ability to tilth, water retention and content of organic matter. We then planted seeds in normal garden soil, versus garden soil amended with their own compost. And now students are conducting scientific observation.

Pelham Community Church is Going Green

We Future Cycle is proud to have helped the Pelham Community Church to go green. One never knows how many moving parts a church operation has, until one tries to change direction. Under the skillful leadership of Pastor Noel Vanek, a consensus was built, with buy in from all parties as creating unity and ownership is what it takes to make any meaningful change permanent.

20161109_103725We Future Cycle set up the building with clear signage, designed the flow of the material, trained the custodial staff, created information flyers for the other building users and already just days after roll out, a clear difference was visible.

20161109_103457kleincroppedAiming for Zero Waste, Pastor Vanek knew that organic recycling was a big factor and now the entrance to the church is sporting a 80 gal enclosed, rotating composter, with clear signage and a bin of leaves adjacent to it. While the church does not generate huge amounts of food waste, Pastor Vanek wants to be an example,  to allow congregation members to witness that food waste composting is not “yuk” or “nasty”, but in fact super easy to do. The Church building is also home to a lovely nursery school and the children will also have the opportunity to place their banana peel into the composter and ….even more importantly….witness what has happened by the next time they open the composter again.

In fact, nearly 50% of all waste coming out of households is food waste, and it makes all the sense in the world to rather home compost that instead of treating it as garbage and spend energy on trucking it to the incinerator.

Pelham Community Church is well on their way to Zero Waste. What a wonderful example of building and improving community.

 

New Rochelle Davis students learning how Garbage affects wildlife

downloadNew Rochelle Davis Elementary School students are expert lunchroom material sorters. The school is in its second year of the We Future Cycle Recycling program and has reduced its building waste by nearly 50% and its lunchroom waste by a whopping 92%.

To refresh students and to infuse new excitement into being green, We Future Cycle presenters went into all the classes today to expand on what the students know already about the detrimental consequences of garbage in the environment.

Part of the presentation was this 3 min video clip.

This powerful clip brought home to them, that there is no “away” when it comes to garbage and it lead to a healthy discussion about plastic consumption, personal commitment to make a change and the dire need for everybody to become engaged.

 

White Plains Church St School tackling Single Serve Snack Waste

White Plains Church St Elementary School students have learned all about sorting and recycling. Last year, the school implemented the We Future Cycle Recycling Program and has had fantastic results

Before implementation Church Street Elementary generated 196 lbs of waste in the lunchroom every day. But with the program in place, all liquids, compostables and recyclables were sorted out, only 3 lbs of actual trash was left over. And even 18.5 lbs of untouched food was rescued and donated. A win – win – win situation.

While this 98% reduction of waste through diversion is fabulous, these 3 lbs constitute a kitchen sized bag filled to the brim with single serve snack waste like juice pouches, chips, cookie wrappers and hundreds and hundreds of sandwich bags.

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This problem is now being tackled. We Future Cycle’s experienced presenters skillfully helped the students to see the connection between food and their body and ultimately their health. They all knew that chips and cookies were junk food and not good for them, but they mentally separated “snack” from the concept of “food”.

Walking them through reading labels, understanding the marketing behind colorful pictures of fruit on a package of sweets that contains only 1% fruit juice was an eye opening experience for them.

And then walking them through how what is not good for their body is also not good for the Earth as the single serve packaging is trash, energized them into making a change. The air was buzzing with students making suggestions on how to make a difference.

 

White Plains School Mom: “We are making changes to make a difference”

I am a mom in the George Washington Elementary School community in White Plains.

I went into my son’s classroom to hear We Future Cycle educate our children about the school’s new recycling program.  I was excited and inspired by the potential positive impact our children and families could have on our local environment.

I always considered our family fairly environmentally conscious but I didn’t realize how huge of an impact our family could have by making a few more small changes at home.After participating in the launch of the new recycling program at school, our family stopped buying paper towels, paper napkins, plastic wrap, and resealable plastic w610_fc-assorted2 bags.  We now use only cloths and reusable glass and plastic food storage containers.  We have also bumped up our contributions to our backyard compost pile and paid even more attention to what we can recycle curbside here in White Plains.  We are hoping that other families have been inspired as well and that together we can be a part of the solution.