By Grey Lee

All seventy-five 6th grade students participated in the Green Apple Day of Service, which focused on composting.  The project was made possible by MassSave, who are eager to support sustainablity education in today's youth. The funding was part of the Green Apple Mini Grant program of the USGBC MA Chapter, based in Boston. 

The middle school has been piloting composting in the lunch room for the last month, and this day of service was created to: 1) educate the students on why we compost, 2) educate the rest of the school about the awesome middle school composting pilot, and 3) reward the 6th grade for their efforts.  

The day started off with students broken into their learning cohorts.  They discussed the meaning of Community Service and then reflected on what the Green Apple Day of Service meant.  The students then rotated through 3 different activities:

1. Compost Education & Worm Bins: Students participated in several hands-on, interactive activities that taught them the importance ofcompost (including saving energy!) and then helped reinforce what we can and can’t compost at Boston Green Academy.  These activities included a game where students looked at a pie chart detailing total waste from 2014 and discussed ways to reduce it.  Students honed in on the fact that 15% was food waste, and were thrilled to learn that we were helping to change that statistic at Boston Green Academy by composting! The activity ended with students observing Red Wigglers and making 2 worm bins, 1 for their class and 1 for a 7th grade class.

2. Art Activity: This activity created signs that will educate the rest of the student body about our Compost Pilot in the middle school.  The final product spelled out BGA COMPOSTS in large letters.  The top of each letter was a collage of things we CAN compost at BGA (like beans, bread and napkins) and the bottom was a collage of things we CAN’T compost yet at BGA (like meat and cheese).  We made three of these signs to spread around the school.  It was a great way to reinforce composting and get the students excited about sharing what they are learning and doing everyday in lunch with the rest of the student body.

3. Cooking: This activity helped the students learn how to cook nutritious food all while creating a healthy celebration meal to culminate the Green Apple Day of Service.  One group made kale salad, another group hummus dip and the final group green salsa made with green tomatoes and peppers from our garden.  It was a great way to talk to about the compost cycle, as the tomatoes had been grown with compost from our worm bins last year.  

The Green Apple Day of Service ended with a celebration by eating the food the different groups made.  It was a great way to have personal discussions about what they enjoyed and what they learned.  All in all it was a wonderful way to introduce our 6th graders to meaningful, green community service!

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