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Student convinces school to begin composting

Environmental Leader
Posted on 01/29/2020

Olivia Ryan may have been a little inspired by environmental activist Greta Thunburg, but gives most of the credit to her Mom for motivating her to convince her school to adopt a composting program.

“My parents own a restaurant on Ottawa Street and they’re doing a lot of things to make it more environmentally friendly,” says the eight-year-old Grade 3 student at St. Angela Catholic Elementary School. “I know there are a lot of things we can do to help (at our school) too.”

Olivia said her mother told her about a local company called Greener Bins, which places composting bins at area homes and businesses, picks them up, and either provides them with fresh compost materials or distributes them to other area people who want it.

So while most other kids her age were relaxing and playing with new toys over their Christmas break, Olivia took two days to put together a project to present to her school’s parent advisory council on the merits of composting. Her friend’s mother is chair of the parent council, so Olivia’s mother contacted to see if she’d be open to the idea of having her make a presentation.

Once she got the nod, Olivia took to the internet to get some facts about how composting benefits the environment and developed a proposal on how her school could work with Greener Bins to implement their program. She even included a number of potential fundraising ideas so the school can cover the costs of the program without an impact on its budget.

“She absolutely blew us away,” said Cailin Bosnyak, Olivia’s teacher. “She’s an example to the rest of her peers about what can be accomplished.”

St. Angela Principal Tony Gebrail whole-heartedly agreed.

“Her presentation was fantastic and she had all of the facts to back up what she was asking for,” said Gebrail. “There was no way we could not do this.”

Olivia admits she was a little nervous presenting to a group of adults, but it was her belief in her cause that carried her through.

“I really just wanted to get it done and help the environment and start composting,” she said.

Now that program has been approved, compost bins will be set up in each classroom and wherever anyone may be eating in the school. Some of the compost may be used in front of the school, but most will be given to area community gardens, Bosnyak said.

St. Angela is in the process of becoming a certified EcoSchool, and Bosnyak said the program will certainly help the school’s quest for certification.

The school will hold an assembly this Friday morning at 9 a.m. to announce its composting program.

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