HomeThe CSWD BlogSchoolsTalkin’ trash at Allen Brook School

Talkin’ trash at Allen Brook School

In October 2016, a new bunch of Kindergartners at Allen Brook School (ABS) in Williston were eager to learn how they can do their part to help the earth be a happier, healthier place.

How do they do that? By practicing the 3 R’s with Recycle Rhonda (that’s me), of course!

Young student holds up an apple for his classmates to see.
Trash talk with young minds at Allen Brook

Each year for the past 2 years, Allen Brook School kindergarten teachers have invited me into their classrooms for a 3-part educational series on waste:

  • Trash Talkin’ and the 3 R’s
  • Compost Connections, and
  • Worms Alive!

The students are so alive with questions and stories about how they recycle and reuse items at home and at school. It is inspirational and enlightening to work with such enthusiastic stewards of the earth.

Talkin’ Trash

On the first day we discussed trash. What kind of ‘trash’ do we Vermonters make and where does it all go when it leaves school (or our homes)? Even though us Chittenden County folks create over 3 pounds of landfill-bound ‘trash’ per day (whether we are at home, work, school, or shopping/playing), over 50% of that ‘trash’ could be recycled or composted in some way, shape or form.

My buddies at ABS totally understood this idea and wanted to jump right in to discover ways THEY could help green up Vermont and save space in our only landfill. We also learned all about the 3 R’s—Reduce, Reuse and Recycle—and where our ‘stuff’ comes from, like trees and other natural resources.

Compost Connections

Two sock puppets with googly eyes.
Bernie & Flo

My second visit was all about what happens after their food scraps leave the cafeteria: Compost! With the help of Bernie the Bacterium and Flo the Fungus (they are always excited to get out of the office), my ABS friends learned what kind of stuff gets composted and why it’s important we all try to compost our food scraps (and paper towels/napkins too).

We don’t wanna make no stinkin’ trash gas if we don’t have to!

Worms Alive!

On the final day, it was all about WORMS! Now anyone that knows me, knows I have an infinity for the squirmy kind of creatures (that’s why I love hanging out with kids) but worms are not only cool critters, they can help us keep food scraps out of the trash, too!

We got to check out the biology of red wiggler worms up close, show off our best worm movements, and set up the worm farm for classroom snack composting with the worms.

I do love visiting ABS each year to chat with incoming kindergarten classes and popping into lunch from time to time to visit my new and old friends and help out at the sort station.

Long after I am gone, Allen Brook School continues to reduce, reuse and recycle: reusing yogurt cups to for paint dishes and utensil holders OR feeding kids, not landfills by collecting uneaten/unopened foods at lunch to provide for students after school.

I am so proud to get the chance to work with the folks—big and small—at Allen Brook School. Mrs. Davison’s class even taught me how to send a tweet! So look for me at lunch or on Twitter (@rhowdyrecycler) and keep rockin’ the 3 R’s!

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Rhonda Mace
Rhonda Mace
School Outreach Coordinator at CSWD
When she's not setting up a worm composting farm or conducting a waste audit, Rhonda likes to hike and observe nature (she really digs bugs), ride her bike (preferably on the bike path) and cook with locally grown (mostly from her garden) foods. You can reach her at 802-872-8100 x211.