Marnebek school’s five hungry bin worm farm composting program

The following is a report back from Dale Sturrock, a Science/ Horticulture teacher at Marnebek School on how they use their Hungry Bin Worm Farms to teach students their science curriculum.

Our school of 220 students collect over 20kg of compost a week from our classroom bins.

Our composting program is 2.5 years, which has always been a whole school initiative and integrated into our Science Curriculum.

Each classroom have their own, specially labelled, compost bin that is emptied and wiped twice a week. Posters have been created and mounted above where the bins are kept. Also, the bins are decorated with written and visual food items that are appropriate and not appropriate for worm consumption. Upon commencing the program, there was a schedule for classroom staff and students to empty their own classroom bins and take it to the worm farm area. However, it is now collected by a different gardening class twice a week and immediately distributed evenly between the 5 Hungry bins in our garden area.

The Hungry bins used to be inside our large garden shed, however, this is not ideal for several reasons of convenience, heat and odour.

The wheels allow for easy mobility and have been placed outside, in the shade, and protected with a roof.

The bottom portion unclips easily, to access the worm castings, unlike the other styles we have used before.

Several students enjoy visiting the bins during scheduled gardening classes which allow learning of life cycles, living and non-living things and other earth sciences. Students build personal and interpersonal skills when collecting and emptying compost.

The worm tea and worm castings are easily collected and used in a variety of ways. Once a month students will carry the worm castings out to the garden and add nutrients to the soil.

The worm tea can be collected in milk containers and distributed around the garden or passed onto students to take home for their own garden as an activity with parents.

Our school is very proud for our students to learn many important learning outcomes from the Victorian Curriculum through the use of our worm bins and compost collection. It is now integrated into our students’ routine of reducing waste and seeing the steps of an apple core becoming soil with the assistance of worms.

Thank you Wormlovers.

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