“We take vegetable waste and biodegradable materials and we create a composting pile,” said Samah Hisamuddin, 17. She is the daughter of Drs. Seema and Mohsin Hisamuddin of Marietta.
Through composting, the group instills environmental stewardship.
“The mission of Walker’s Composting Group is to make an impact environmentally with our daily composting. But more than that we are trying to raise awareness. All of us feel strongly that responsibility falls on our generation to take care of the Earth for future generations. We want to make sure we are doing our part and get the whole school involved as well,” said Mohini Chakravorty.
The composting group was the brain child of Chakravorty who grew up watching her mother compost. Chakravorty, a Woodstock resident, who has attended the school since fifth grade, noticed the amount food scraps thrown away by the kitchen.
“Scraps were being thrown away when they could be used for a greater purpose,” said Chakravorty, whose parents Rita and Dr. Satya Chakravorty are professors at Kennesaw State University.
Realizing she could not start a composting group on her own, Chakravorty enlisted “three responsible friends who care about the environment to help.”
The team obtained a commitment from Sage Food Service kitchen staff to participate. The main dining hall kitchen staff members sort the food scraps as they prepare meals each day. The composting group also convinced the school that, “We were not just four girls who wanted to save the earth. We had to convince the school we were serious about this and that we were serious about this for the future,” Chakravorty said.
After obtaining the school’s blessing, a private donor built the composting bin allowing the actual composting process to begin. The group dumps kitchen scraps into the bins and mixes it with grass. Once a week, they aerate by turning the soil. In February 2013, the group reaped their first harvest.
“We’re planning to use the dirt in the middle school garden to grow vegetables. It’s very nutritious. There’s plenty to go in any school gardens,” said Isabelle Haslam, 17, whose parents are Alison and Richard Haslam of Kennesaw.
“If you were to purchase the dirt anywhere else, it’s quite expensive,” said Han Song, 18, an international student whose parents SooYoung and GiYoung Lee, live in Korea. Song resides in Kennesaw.
Kevin Tilley, dean of students of the Middle School, is the faculty sponsor of the student-driven group. Their responsibilities include running assemblies, managing their own blog, and supervising other students particularly in lower and middle school who participate.
“We want this to be part of Walker’s DNA. We want it to be part of Walker,” Hisamuddin said.
Through their efforts the group raises awareness and inspires. “We want to be an example for other schools. Other schools that are bigger than ours should be doing this too,” Haslam said.
“We want to show if four girls can start a composting group for a school of over 1,000, then a family can handle starting their own composting,” Song said.
“We want to be an inspiration to other people. If a few people are willing to put in the work (change) is possible. It may be a small change every day but in the long run it will make a big difference,” Chakravorty said.
The Walker School is located 700 Cobb Parkway North in Marietta. To learn more about the composting program, visit www.thewalkerschool