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Growing Green L
ast school year Andy Overend, a fourth grade teacher, took drums and then by worms in the large composting bins. The result is ASIJ to include the middle school and high school. A senior noted
on a project to reduce food waste at ASIJ by converting it a soil amendment that Overend explains, “is full of microorganisms that “this project is a very important step to raising awareness
into compost. Securing four tumbling composting drums which you cannot find in fertilizer.” These microorganisms facilitate among the students and faculty about the small steps we can
and two large composting bins, Overend went to work educating plant growth and allow for a stronger and healthier plant. In fact, make to help the environment.” In the 2006-2007 academic

Wynne Callon ‘09 the third, fourth, and fifth grade elementary school students about
the benefits of composting. Overend explains that this project is
Overend’s fourth grade class conducted an experiment in which the
students grew radishes in two different pots, one with normal soil
school year ASIJ produced a total of 77,649 kg of burnable trash,
of which 50% or around 39,000 kg is estimated to come from

reports on ASIJ’s “not about efficiency, its about education.” His goal was not to
produce the most compost in the most efficient manner, but to
and one with a 10% compost soil mix. The radishes in the compost
grew much better and were 50% bigger by weight.
the cafeteria. A service club in the high school will help coordinate
the three school divisions and work to enhance awareness among

growing compost raise awareness among ASIJ students.

Last year, the three grades separated their non-animal food
Additionally, Overend used the finished compost to create
“compost tea,” water fortified with the nutrients from the
students. Additionally, the elementary school will have a new
“outdoor learning environment” which will include additional

project waste every day, composting a total of 1200 kilograms of waste

during the year, a project which has clearly left an impression
compost. The compost is soaked in water overnight with an
aquarium oxygen pump aerating the solution to allow for the
gardening areas. The school hopes to teach the elementary school
students about organic agriculture and is considering having the
on the students. One fifth grade student observed that “the reproduction of the aerobic microorganisms that are beneficial children sell the vegetables they produce along with the compost
amount of garbage in the burnable garbage can is now half to plants. The resulting solution can be used to water plants and and compost tea to parents and faculty.
as much [as it was before].” An additional benefit is that each also to spray on the leaves of plants to prevent diseases. As an The composting project at ASIJ began with just one man.
day the waste is weighed and recorded, a step that may allow extra environmental touch, recycled water bottles are used to This year it will expand to include the entire school, providing
the cafeteria to adjust its menu in the future to make food that store the compost tea. Students sold bottles of the “compost tea” the basis for inter-division cooperation, enhanced learning, and
is more agreeable to the students. at Winterfest this year to raise awareness about the composting potentially a student-run business. Thus, the left over vegetables
Over the course of approximately two to three months the program and funds to support their green initiatives. of the ASIJ students are helping the American School in Japan
waste is gradually broken down, first in the tumbling composting This year there is a plan to expand the composting project at grow into the future.

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