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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Academy of the Canyons, Santa Clarita, California, USA

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Academy of the Canyons, Santa Clarita, California, USA
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sameaderrick



Registered: November 2020
City/Town/Province: Santa Clarita
Posts: 1
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In my junior year of high school I decided to make a positive change in my community, so I co-founded a club at my school. The club, Seeds of Change, focuses on education regarding climate change with an emphasis on composting. I serve as the co-president and of this club and am heavily involved in the planning of club projects, meeting preparation, and outreach. Throughout these last two years we have carried out three major projects: a schoolwide compost system, two garden boxes, and two community workshops.
The first project I decided to lead was a schoolwide compost system in an effort to reduce food waste on campus. Our first order of business was for my co-president and I to work closely with our principal to gain permission to upcycle old trash bins into colorful food scrap receptacles. We painted the bins a vivid yellow with sunflowers and directions for what could be placed in the bins. After we finished our paint job, we placed them around campus next to trash and recycling bins. We also worked with staff to find a place on campus to compost these food scraps. Every Friday, my club and I emptied the food waste bins onto our compost pile to begin decomposing. After about a month of this process, I realized that we needed a place for our finished compost, so I decided to organize our next project of building a garden box.
I knew that my club had minimal funds, so I decided to reach out to some local businesses. I emailed a local soil company, garden store, and utility store, who all happily donated the tools we needed for this project. My team worked to build two garden boxes out of donated wood planks and install it near our compost pile. We then filled the box with compost and donated soil, then planted seeds and seedlings. As we planned out our garden layout, my club was able to harness their knowledge of sustainable farming we had learned over the course of the year. Over the course of a few months, my team and I watered and nurtured these plants until they were ready to harvest. Our bounty was few, but it was still rewarding to be able to grow our own food. The produce was used during a meeting to demonstrate healthy, sustainable meals.
As the months passed and I continued the compost system at my school, I noticed a growing interest in our composting program from people outside our school community. We received multiple emails asking if we could expand our operation, so we worked with our school administrators to do so. After some advertising, printing of business cards, and outreach, my co-president and I thought we were ready to take on more food waste from the community. So, we began holding Compost Drop-Off Fridays, which allowed community members to drop off food scraps at our school to add to our compost pile. In doing this, my co-president and I made valuable connections and were invited to teach compost workshops at Bridgeport Elementary School and CalArts. My co-president and I taught thirty students at Bridgeport Elementary the basics of composting and how to sort food waste through group activities. At CalArts, the two of us taught a group of twenty college students the methods of composting and sustainability and how they could incorporate it into their school and community.
This past semester, I have continued to lead and teach in Seeds of Change despite the circumstances. We now hold weekly meetings that are structured with a theme, lecture, discussion, and challenge for the following week. My co-president and I take turns lecturing each week, but we are both heavily involved in leading the discussions and facilitating a safe space for conversation. Some of the topics we have tackled this semester are landfill mining, native plants, climate change in politics, native bees, and sustainable agriculture. I have also worked to plan other activities such as movie nights. Our club has one of the highest membership with 20-30 people attending virtually each week.
Date: December 9, 2020 Views: 797 File size: 21.7kb, 234.4kb : 884 x 1102
Hours Volunteered: 400
Volunteers: 70
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 8-26
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