Benefits of worm composting creep into classroom
By: Shelby Parker
They're creepy, they're crawly, they're great for waste management.
Ten bins were made into classroom composters at Beatrice Strong School in Port Hope February 21, with the help of man's wiggly friend, the worm.
"They're natures finest fertilizers," said Cathy Nesbitt, of Cathy's Crawly Composters.
Mrs. Nesbitt and her husband travel around schools in Southern Ontario teaching students and their teachers about the benefits of worm compost.
"It is why I was put on Earth," she said.
Vermicomposting, or composting with specialty worms, is a natural way to make nutrient-rich soil and a way to get rid of your compost. "People don't know the value of worm compost," said Mrs. Nesbitt.
After she invested a number of years obtaining her psychology degree, she was introduced to worm composting but had a phobia of worms, so never went anywhere with it. But the more Mrs. Nesbitt said she researched them, the more she found them interesting creatures.
She and her husband have had the business for six years.
"At first, my goal was waste management," said Mrs. Nesbitt - that is, trying to cut down the waste produced.
She noted that said having a composter can cut down 40 per cent of a household's waste.
With research, her ideas for the project have changed.
"But the real goal of this is soil production. Waste reduction is just a side benefit," she said, explaining the worm castings (worm excrement) are richer than compost produced by other methods.
"They're rebuilding the soil," said Mrs. Nesbitt.
Two pounds of red wiggler worms can recycle one pound of organic matter in 24 hours.
The students were able to make a compost for their classroom.
"They get the opportunity to apply what they learn in the workshop," said Mrs. Nesbitt.
"They get it. And then they go home and teach their parents," she said.
The project is part of the school's initiative to become an eco-school.
"The school did this years ago, but now we're starting it again," said Karen Vandermeer, principal at Beatrice Strong.
Ms. Vandermeer said the school found out about Mrs. Nesbitt via the Internet, and was happy for the workshops, which included all 10 classrooms.
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