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Environmental awareness alive at CVU

CHITTENDEN SOUTH Members of the CSSU community have recently taken an important step toward promoting sustainability. Several interconnected pieces have recently come together at Champlain Valley Union High School to get a compost project up and running and also to improve upon the schools garden. The CVU Environmental Action Club has played an integral role in helping the school to begin composting this month, an estimated 240 pounds of food scraps per day, judging by what was measured during the Trash on the Lawn Day. On this day the environmental club literally brought the schools garbage to the lawn and separated it in order to show students and staff how much of what was being thrown away could actually be recycled or composted. Mackenzie Pierson, a senior at CVU and president of the Environmental Action Club, said that composting has been a goal of the club for several years, but with senior presidents graduating each year, the project has been stalled. Pierson, who has been a member of the club since it started several years ago, said I really wanted to get something done. This year, they were able to get the hardest part out of the way, securing a grant that will pay for the compost to be picked up from the school and be transported to the Intervale in Burlington. Pierson said the club has worked in conjunction with the Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD) and the Intervale in order to make this happen this year. Earlier this fall, CVU piloted the composting project for a week, and then began composting on April 2, which will continue throughout the rest of the school year and pick up again next fall. The club has also been focused on educating the CVU community about composting in order to make the program as successful as possible. Pierson said during the pilot week of the composting program, only 73 pounds of food scraps were composted per day. Composting was talked about at the schools Town Meeting Day, and the environmental club had set up a table in the cafeteria during the lunch block this week to talk with students about composting, and also to hand out stickers to each student who composted. Pierson said the stickers will be handed in to the advisors, and whichever advisory has the most stickers will be treated to a Ben and Jerrys ice cream party. While the kick-off of composting at the school is a success for the Environmental Action Club, other members of the community have a vested interest in the project and outcomes, too. As part of the composting project, CVU will use compost from the Intervale to help revitalize the schools garden. The CVU garden, which was started last year suffered from the high rainfall. It was a good first attempt, said Leo Laforce, Food Service Director at CVU. Laforce has been involved with the garden project at the school and hopes to incorporate what is grown in the garden into some of his menu items at the school. James Donegan, an active member of the Hinesburg community is also getting involved with the schools garden project. As a participant in the towns Buy Local committee, Donegan also grows his own vegetables and is planning to have some CSA shares available for several Hinesburg residents this summer. He said he has been involved with CVU garden project as a result of the Buy Local committees goals, and plans to continue to volunteer his time working on the garden through the spring and over the summer. He said the plan is to have as much input from CVU students as possible, letting them decide what they want to go into the garden, and also having them help with its upkeep over summer months. Donegan said he and Laforce have talked about trying to plant vegetables so that they will be ready for harvest at the time students return to school in the fall. Some members of the schools food service staff as well as Duncan Wardwell, who coordinates the CVU summer camp, will also be involved with the garden during the summer months.

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