Students at 14 area schools learned about composting and its benefits after professional educator and “eco troubadour” Stan Slaughter, of Lee’s Summit, visited local schools this past year.
The Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District (ORSWMD) funded Slaughter’s visit through a grant to Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC).
Grant funds come from tipping fees at local landfills and are awarded to various organizations in the seven-county ORSWMD area each year by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) through ORSWMD.
Among the schools in the ORSWMD area that hosted Slaughter’s program or received his educational materials included Wyman Elementary School in Rolla, Rolla Junior High School, Dixon High School, Dixon Elementary School, Vienna High School, Vienna Elementary School, Oak Hill Elementary School in Salem, Salem High School and many others.
Slaughter spent nearly a full year planning the presentation specifically to be delivered to students in the area. He began his tour of 14 schools in the spring of 2012 and completed the programs by October.
“I had my doubts because composting doesn’t seem like it would be a thrilling subject, but Stan did a great job and the kids just loved it,” MRPC Environmental Programs Manager Tammy Snodgrass said of the presentation. MRPC prepared the grant application and coordinated the project.
While the program was livelier and incorporated more music for elementary school presentations, Slaughter modified the program for older students concentrating more on the science behind composting.
One highlight of the presentation was the “people pile,” which was a chance for students to become involved in Slaughter’s presentation by forming themselves into a human compost pile.
Another highlight was a microscope projected on a large screen showing the students various organisms in a compost pile. Slaughter taught the students about composting with worms and the different ingredients and layers of a compost pile.
Composting is a method of collecting organic waste like food scraps and yard waste. A biological process converts this raw organic material into stable and valuable soil-like material that can be used in the lawn or garden as fertilizer or soil amendment.
More information about composting can be found on Slaughter’s composting blog: stanslaughter.com/node/12.
The ORSWMD includes Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their cities.