Tag Archives: food

New Rochelle Webster 1st Graders Are Digging Worms!

Picture3We Future Cycle has been hired by the New Rochelle School District to bring sustainability education to the students. Our favorite activity is to do a Worm composting workshop with elementary students. Recently all Webster 1st graders got to meet their new friends, the Eisenia Fetida worms.

Students learned how important worms are for our environment, they cringed a bit when told how worms eat all kinds of stuff that falls on the ground and they openly gasped when learning just HOW much worms can eat on a daily basis and that the brown stuff they saw were actually worm castings (the correct word for worm poop 🙂

Making connections between muscle movements and its affect on how something can propel itself forward made them laugh, but all of them continued to flex their muscles to try it out.

All students got down and dirty, armed with a magnifying glass to examine the sample of worms they received on a moistened paper towel in front of them. They observed size differences, looked for coloring differences to identify what is the mouth and what is the anus of the worm, checked out the movements and searched for baby worms. Loud cheers followed by droves of kids swarming to the neighboring table when news came that a cocoon was found.

All in all, the basic information that all life matters and that worms have important jobs to do by taking our waste and turning it into something fantastic will stick with these young learners. That is the Webster Way.

New Rochelle ALMS Taste of New Rochelle Fundraiser is going green

Last night about 300 of New Rochelle’s parents had a chance to stroll in the festively decorated lunchroom of Albert Leonard Middle School to view lots of silent auction item as well as tasting delicious fare from fabulous New Rochelle restaurants.

The annual ALMS PTSA fundraiser “Taste of New Rochelle” was a relaxing place to meet and greet parents we only get to see on our (hurried) way to drop off or pick up our kids.

Last night marked also the first time that this event was source separated to mirror what the students are doing in the lunchroom.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAParents had the opportunity to sort their waste into “Food & Paper” and “Commingled Recycling” and they all did it with gusto and flawlessly. Anna Giordano, Executive Director of We Future Cycle, the not-for-profit organisation that was hired to bring extensive sustainability programs to the district was there to help at the station and to share the fabulous results achieved in all the schools since the inception of the program. ALMS has reduced its lunchroom waste by a whopping 95%, its building waste by a good 50% and its kitchen waste by 65%. All in all, that is about 450 lbs of garbage NOT generated every day, and that just from one of the 9 participating New Rochelle schools.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThanks to the program, New Rochelle School District was able to revamp its waste management system and save considerable funds. Carl Thurnau, the Director of Facilities for the district has just quantified it at the ongoing budget meetings with an annual savings of $130,000.

And of course, Westchester County is benefiting from the increase of recyclables delivered to the Material Recovery Facility near Stew Leonards. Recyclables are commodities that are sold back to industry for considerable prices.

ALMS Taste of New Rochelle generated 3 large bags of recyclables, one bag of food waste for composting, and only about 2 lbs of trash, mainly Styrofoam products.

White Plains Ridgeway Students Compost All Classroom Food waste

Check out these two recycling rangers from White Plains Ridgeway Elementary School.

20170104_104701_1They are bringing the organic snack waste from their classroom to the lunchroom. There it is combined with the food waste that will  be composted. White Plains has adopted the We Future Cycle Recycling Program last year and is working hard to make its schools a waste free environment. And Ridgeway is very much on its way.

The lunchroom has reduced garbage by a whopping 95% through sorting and diversion into recycling and composting and each classroom is doing the same thing.

Students learned in We Future Cycle presentations how to reduce snack waste by choosing naturally unwrapped foods as well as using reusable containers. Each time a student was waste free he or she got a leaf to paste on the “Ridgeway Caring Tree” and the tree looks beautiful and very “leafy”.

20170104_104939Every day, students of all grades bring their organics down to the lunchroom and carefully clean their pail. Head Custodian Pedro Molina reports that there is practically nothing in the trash at the end of the day.

 

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!

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!

 

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.