- Category: Education
- Created on Monday, 20 August 2012 21:01
Escondido, California - “In composting, worm poop equals worm gold,” said Laura Robinson from the City of Escondido’s Recycling and Waste Reduction office.
Robinson was giving a presentation on composting and recycling to about two dozen children and parents at the county’s California Children Services (CCS) Medical Therapy Unit in Escondido . It was part of a whole week dedicated to recycling that taught the children environmental lessons while engaging their physical therapy lessons.
CCS is a countywide program that treats children with certain physical limitations and chronic health conditions or diseases.
“These are practical yet fun activities that allow our children to work on their fine motor and gross motor skills,” said Marilyn Thompson, senior physical therapist. “Beyond the therapy aspect, it also fits well in the county’s Live Well, San Diego! initiative by helping the kids work on their own health and learning to preserve their community and work with others in the community.”
The children got to help Robinson create a worm composting bed from scratch. She started with a big rubber storage container. After explaining the whole process, children began tearing up strips of cardboard and paper to make the mulch for the bed.
“The children are working with different textures,” said Thompson. “Tearing cardboard and tearing paper take different levels of hand strength.”
The next step was for the children to toss the paper and cardboard into a bucket of water. After soaking for a few minutes, they got to squeeze excess water out of the paper and cardboard and toss it into the worm composting bed.
Dirt had to be added next, and then came time to add food for the worms. Robinson explained that worms need things with a grainy texture such as coffee grounds to help them ingest the food through their gullet.
The red wiggler worms that were added to the bed were given coffee grounds, lettuce, banana peels and big chunk of watermelon rind.
“When the worm compost bed is ready, you take the moisture from the bed, or as I call it ‘worm tea’, and that’s what you put on your garden to help the plants grow,” said Robinson.
As part of the morning of activities, the children also created terrariums from recycled two liter bottles, made binoculars out of toilet paper tubes and picture frames from old cardboard.
“Activities like these allow the children to use cognitive skills, express themselves and explore their creativity, almost without realizing it,” said Thompson.