We here at Camp Minikani are happy to see spring has finally arrived! The snow has melted, the temperatures are warming up, and the spring peepers, chorus frogs, and skunk cabbage have all made their spring arrivals known in our wetlands. As we eagerly await school groups coming out here again this spring, our environmental education department is wrapping up the in-school lessons we’ve been teaching over the past few months. We’ve been weekly visitors to Steffen Middle School, Richfield School, and Tippecanoe Elementary School over the past couple months. As part of these classes, the students have learned about their ecological footprint, composting, and environmental media. At Richfield School, the 7th graders raised awareness of various issues that were of concern to them. One group focused on food waste at lunch, and they created a video and presentation that addresses the issues and showed it to the students at the school. Another group organized an E-Cycling drive, where students, teachers, parents, and community members could bring in their old electronics and have them donated to organizations that will then give money to Richfield School in exchange. These students also wrote nature journals, took nature themed photography, and worked on their projects in their free time.
Steffen Middle School 7th graders have had an extensive program combining classes on eco footprints and composting. The students first took quizzes to determine how much of an impact they have on Planet Earth. After they discovered their impacts, they began learning about a way to reduce their impact, through composting. These classes focused on how long it takes for materials to decompose in both a landfill, and then in a compost pile. The difference for some materials really surprised the students. With our last visit there, the school will receive a large composter to use for composting their organic waste from lunches and any snacks the students might have. The 7th graders are pumped to take on the responsibility of maintaining their composting system at their school throughout the rest of the year. The students at Tippecanoe also took part in the same composting program. They built small composters made of two liter soda bottles, and then added organic waste to the composters that were kept in their classrooms over a few weeks. The students at Steffen added the compost from their own bottles to the large composter at their school and it will hopefully turn into nutrient rich soil in the next few months for them to use. We only have a few more weeks until the schools are out here every day…we’re excited to get going once again!