Our School

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With the help of $10,000 grants from
BP Oil through their A+ For Energy program,
and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo,
Ecole Dickinsfield School of Fort McMurray, Alberta
is Composting!



 

Our students, parents and staff have embraced being proactive, eating healthily and having less waste. We have 67% less waste than we used to have. 

Much of our remaining waste is apple cores and banana peels. So we're want to compost as much of it as possible. 

Worms

We have over 20,000 worms eating apple cores and banana peels in the school!
Our Composting Center

One of our school Womologists: student leaders in worm care
Wormologists
Volunteer student Wormologist Leaders are chosen each term to be our school worm composting experts. They are Grade 1-6 students dedicated to learning about and caring for worms and the other little organisms that eat fruit and vegetable waste and turn it into rich compost. They take care of the Composting Corner, an area with 7 Worm Factories and many buckets. They observe closely to see if all stages of the worm cycle are present, including egg sacs, newborn worms, young worms, and adults. Some are even lucky enough to see mating worms. They use a digital microscope to take photos and videos of other little composting helpers, such as mites, springtails, mold & fungus to share with the school. They help figure out the best way to do worm composting in the school.


Students found all stages of the worm life cycle
Gardening Leaders
A team of Grade 1-6 Gardening Leaders starts seedlings, and help other classes plant with compost. Classrooms then have their own gardening leaders, who make sure the seedlings are cared for. Our harvested worm castings ago out to our school garden when it is time for planting and transplanting. The worm poop is wonderful for helping our garden grow. After fall harvest, garden waste goes in our outdoor composting area with the help of Outdoor Composting Leaders. We have 6 different kinds of composters we are experimenting with outdoors.

The Earth Club
Volunteer students in Grade 1-6 are our "big picture" kids. They meet and set goals with the broader task of helping our school improve its Ecological Footprint. They learn about all kinds of environmental problems, from cutting down trees, to endangered animals, to using too much electricity. They learn about waste, the role of oil in food production and transportation, and how growing our own food and composting reduces pollution. A guest scientist showed the students bitumen, how oil is extracted from oilsand, and taught about the problems and solutions with oil as an energy source. They helped research and choose outdoor composters. Grade 3K class conducted many composting and rotting experiments and shared that information with the school. 
  
Custodians
None of this would happen without our amazing custodians. They track the number of bags of garbage we create daily and give suggestions for improvement. They help celebrate our success when our school of 700+ students creates only one bag of lunch garbage in a day.  

Parents
The Parent Association helps by choosing hot lunch items that are healthier and have less waste. Parents are given information on composting and invited to join in at home. Several families have started their own worm composting with our worms.  


Bulletin board teaching students and adults about worms and vermicomposting.

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
RMWB supported us by giving us our first Worm Bucket and worms, and holding a workshop for 11 of our staff on worm care. They gave us great brochures and posters and developed a wonderful Worm Mascot that we love, named RRRed. We were part of the RMWB reveal of RRRed!! We've been supportive of their new recycling and composting education area of the landfill. 

Bulletin board teaching about the organisms that help worms decompose.

Shared Learning
Learning is shared with whole school community (kids, staff, parents) through bulletin boards, school newsletters, a website and presentations. Wormologists share learning with other students through Worm Workshops, where students  touch, look through magnifying glasses and read about worms and their compost.  

Publicity




We have been interviewed by the Fort McMurray paper, Connect paper and were on CTV news.

The Alberta Teachers Association interviewed us, for their website.