Thanks to a new partnership with the school's neighbor AECOM and some of their community-minded employees, Lake Country Academy's Ecology club is learning environmental-friendly ways to make life greener. AECOM employees, Heather Cleveland, Sarah Majerus, and Ann Amelse helped the Eco-club kick off the year with a presentation on recycling, decomposition and landfill design.
A worm farm brought to school by Lake Country Academy (LCA) science teacher, Nicole Braun, reinforced the point of environmental engineer, Heather Cleveland, on how to produce ‘worm tea' which is a favorite nutrient of plants. As a landfill designer, Cleveland had much more to share with students about recycling and students hope to join her in a landfill visit. Environmental scientist Ann Amelse shared her expertise in GIS Mapping with the Eco-club and will be teaching students to map out several natural habitat areas on the playground and plant appropriate native plants. AECOM ecologist Ann Majerus will also be instrumental in helping students finish plans for the empty spaces left after last spring's construction of the LCA Center for Art, Music and Physical Education.
The 12 fourth- through eighth-grade Eco-club members are in their second year of working with community members, since they raised $1000 in a spring plant sale with the help of Caan's Greenhouse. This fall they traveled to A&M Trees where they were given instructions on how to purchase a choice tree, a River Birch which now crowns a front door corner of the new construction site.
Another community donor to the LCA's ecology efforts is the Joseph Schmitt Legacy Fund that helped the school purchase two compost bins and other recycling supplies through the Maywood Curriculum Development Grant. Last year, LCA started composting lunch waste on a small scale, but now with the help of AECOM partners, the students' increased knowledge is helping them become more effective recyclers. The Eco-club chose the second grade class to conduct a trial run for recycling containers. The club discovered that several lunch remains could be almost entirely disposed of with very little waste sent to the trash. Clear plastic containers and aluminum containers are easily cleaned and stacked for the recycling bin.
Further Eco-club meetings include the design of landscaping for the area in which students measured, plotted, color-coded and discovered the correct plants for the available amount of sun exposure. Upcoming meetings will involve Eco-club members in the execution of new composting and recycling plans for the school.