Applied Horticulture at Lake Wylie
The fabulous students at Lake Wylie (a GTN Purple Carrot School) applied their gardening know-how to tackle one of our biggest needs: recycling and reusing our natural resources. The Lake Wylie Team Robotic Recyclers decided to take on the issue of food waste in the cafeteria. As a Purple Carrot School, Lake Wylie has been planting and growing vegetables, fruits and pollinator plants. These plants need nutrition added to the soil in order to be healthy and to be successful producers. Organic fertilizer is expensive! The students decided to research other options and determined that vermiculture could be an inexpensive and easily accessible solution. Vermiculture, or vermicomposting, is the process of feeding worms decomposing organic materials, such as vegetable waste. The worms cast off the organic matter and create a nutrient-rich fertilizer that helps plants thrive.
Unfortunately the students knew exactly where to find decomposing organic materials: in their own school cafeteria. Many of their fellow students throw away their delicious, healthy vegetables. The students collected discarded salads and other vegetables from the cafeteria. They fed these organic items to red wiggler worms, and they ended up with healthy, rich vermicompost. The students determined they could help Lake Wylie decrease food waste and increase the garden’s nutrition level by adding vermicompost to our gardens. The students used Purple Carrot Garden resources and studied the book Worms Eat My Garden for guidance.
The Robotic Recyclers tested their theory with a small radish garden. The radish garden that received the vermicompost produced a better crop than the other gardens that did not receive the rich soil. The students decided to continue the program to include every garden at Lake Wylie. In the fall, we will have the soil tested to know how much vermicompost to add to the soil in order to yield healthy gardens.
The team presented their project to the judges, had a team work session and ran their robots on April 9th at Southwest Junior High. They were the Grand Champions and have advanced to the next tournament, which will be held Saturday April 30th at UNC Charlotte.
CONGRATULATIONS to the GRAND CHAMPION WINNING Team Robotic Recyclers! Ellie Jarvis, Nhu Loi, Isabella Carajal, Jaden Gaddy, Ava Childress, and Ryan Gwinn
Lake Wylie also sponsored another Team, Team Kevin, which placed FIRST in Robot Performance during the competition for their trash collection project. This team includes Jo Jo Ansah-Eshun, Jayden Moore, Cassidy Zollinger, Mason VanFossen, Andy Dinh and Griffin Price.
We are very proud of our students for applying all of their STEM knowledge in creating such useful projects for everyone at Lake Wylie.
-Cynthia Dey K-5 Science Lab Facilitator, Lake Wylie Elementary School