By: Anastasia Ivanova
Saratoga Springs High School is taking a ‘Green’ Initiative by working on building a compost greenhouse behind the building; a project that was started 2016. The project is managed by Mr. Haas and his Environmental Science class, with the help form the technology department.
Compostable garbage is taken from the kitchen in buckets, and dumped in a composter. From there, it sits until it slowly turns into soil by mixing it around and adding water. With eth help of kitchen staff, who separate compostable from non-compostable waste, the product is 3-8 gallons of organic fertilizer. Previous two Environmental Science classes had been gathering compost for about 2 months, and will continue collecting buckets throughout the whole school year.
The Environmental Science classes of 2016 and 2017 were the students who first got the project off the ground. They were expected to conduct research on garden plant species, design a layout, and initiate construction.
Jack Wurtman, a graduated senior, says “My brother in the class this year has said that his class’s enthusiasm is much more prevalent. I attribute this to that his class has had had a model to envision the garden where as my class saw it as a required work. I still enjoyed the project but a bit can be done to make it student sided.”
Mathison Theobald, a Siena freshman student who was also involved in the process says, “I thought it was a pretty cool way to get a class of high school students to be active in the community. It was also a good exercise for planning and team building, and will hopefully expand and be successful in the future.”
Before the project, food waste was tossed into a garbage disposal. This process leads to costly clean ups, and garbage disposal services. Nutrients in the soil was constantly lost through Saratoga’s watershed; the Kaydeross River. Composting is a process that societies have done for thousands of years and can be done at all scales, whether it be the backyard or city-wide. “Environmental students are learning this skill and seeing yet another way where we can be closing the loop and managing our wastes in a sustainable manner” says Mr.Haas.
Other benefits of the project include raising plants for consumption, and for medicinal purposes. Some of the planted plant species will be beneficial to insects, such as the Monarch butterfly. when asked about his thoughts on the project, Mr. Haas was very excited. “Other components of the Park include green building design (rainwater collection, solar power) and landscaping design. This year is focused upon construction methods. We have been working with Tech students to pour concrete foundations and help with the completion of the tool shed, composter and pavilion.”