Boys & Girls club | What’s not to like about worms?
March 13, 2012
KINGS BEACH, Calif. – Ryan Glenn started a Green Team program at the Boys & Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe in 2011-2012 to help children understand what goes into trash cans ends up in landfills. But the program is more than just kids collecting cans. “My main goal is to build an aquaponics greenhouse for the Club that will hopefully address the problem of sustainably growing food year-round in a high altitude, snowy climate,” Glenn said.The first step for the Green Team was recycling. This also allowed the opportunity to raise money for the Club and the garden project said Glenn. The kids brought in items from home to go along with the recycling items saved at the Club.Glenn said it involved selling concessions at family nights to help with awareness in the community for the project. So far the recycling project has raised $300 and the team has now used $100 for a composting program. The composting program is a collaborative effort of The Club and WasteNot with Red Wiggler worms eating food waste at the Club. The worms process and rapidly decompose food waste and turn it into rich soil. “We just got the compost up and running and hope to eventually compost the lion’s share of our food scraps and leftovers from the snack program,” Glenn said. “As it stands now, we’re not putting much in because we don’t have enough worms yet to keep everything balanced.” The compost program was created when Glenn contacted Emily Griffith, Parasol’s AmeriCorps volunteer at the Incline Village General Improvement District Waste Not program. Griffith explained she is an outdoors, mud, animals, tree-loving kind of girl and was already working on a compost bin for her place. “I was already trying to find a good AmeriCorp budget-friendly option for compost that wasn’t too expensive or bulky,” Griffith said. “My supervisors here at Waste Not generously shared some of their worms.”Griffith found both the bins and worms could be purchased online but were rather expensive. It was not in her own budget and is the reason she decided on a DIY project for the bins. She was lucky to receive the Red Wigglers from her supervisors. Now she has passed along half of her worm population to the Club program. Griffith figures the Club’s worm population should grow from around 2 pounds to 7 pounds over the new few months. “I calculated the dimensions for the Club after weighing their food waste from a single day and figured out how many worms they would need and how much space that would take up,” Griffith said. “Then we used the Green Team’s funds from all the recycling and matched funding with our budget here at Waste Not to purchase some bins, a collection bucket and a blender (to help break down the food scraps so the worms can process them more quickly). The whole set up was less than $100 total (an at-home DIY version without a blender or such a large scale would cost under $15).” Griffith did find other options for composting in this area but did not find anything as fast and effective as worms. Her personal compost handles almost all food waste from a five-person house and fits under the sink where it is nice and dark for the dirt lovers. The next project at the Club for the Green Team will be to find ways to get the materials, a space and the help needed to build the greenhouse. “If and when we can get the greenhouse up and running, the next step will be in training the kids and the community how to take care of the garden and recruit parents and children to come in and volunteer to work in the garden a day or two each month,” Glenn said. The Green Team is just one of the many outstanding programs at the Club to help children and teens become productive, caring and responsible citizens. This is the mission of the Boys & Girls Club. The Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation awarded a Celebrate Community Grant to the Club in support of its programs.The Boys & Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe started in 1998 in Kings Beach. The Club provides a safe place for both children and teens to get help with homework, to meet friends or participate in a program such as the Green Team. Children can also participate in after-school programs, special activities, holiday programs, field trips, summer camps and sports programs. The cost of membership is low and scholarships are available so that no child is turned away.- Jean Eick is the communications manager for Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation