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Mr. Sibley from Portland ME is requesting Other through DonorsChoose, the #1 classroom funding site for teachers.

Middle School Composting Project

My students need both indoor and outdoor composters to reduce our waste stream and build up our gardens for our Seeds of Culture expedition.

  • $878 goal

This project expired on June 10, 2010.

Hooray! This project is fully funded

We are a nationally recognized Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound (ELOB) public middle school in Maine. I am an expedition teacher for grades 6,7 & 8. Our students learn by participating in 10 week learning expeditions that involve multi-disciplinary project based learning. Our learning expeditions combine strong community connections, service learning, fieldwork and work with experts. We have exceptional results, and receive hundreds of visitors every year. Our students largely come from low income households, and many are refugees from crises around the world. We have an ongoing expeditionary project called Seeds of Culture wherein we explore the cultural aspects of food, and address food insecurity issues. We also study climate, biomes, and plant and soil biology in this expedition. We have four gardens and two apple trees at this point and want to expand our capacity to grow our own food.

Despite living in Maine, we are essentially an inner city school. Our students often are not exposed to the natural world in any meaningful way until they come to us. We learn by doing, and teach our students to find solutions to real world problems. Our students have responded very positively to a chance to garden. It has enhanced their knowledge of scientific concepts, and allowed them to positively impact our community. Our students learned how to compost and garden from a group called "Cultivating Communities" - you will see evidence of this in our attached photo. However, our budget does not support these efforts. Given the neighborhoods that we serve, our ability to fundraise from parents is also limited. We have been fortunate to get donations to support the building of our gardens, and the purchase of our two apple trees, but now we need help getting indoor and outdoor composters to build up our soil. Our student action team has been meeting every Monday morning developing a protocol for composting school waste, and developing educational posters and a video to inform and motivate all of our students. Now all we need are some composters!

We have a flat plot of ground out next to our garden that would be a good sunny spot for three to five composters. We also have room in one of our science classrooms for the same number of indoor composters. The point of our learning expeditions is to engage kids in real problem solving. Our composting program is designed by kids and would be run by kids. They would assemble the composters, organize and run the collection of compostable materials, process the materials and apply them to the garden and trees. This would be a great opportunity for them to shape the kind of world that they want to live in. This composting project would be a small, but meaningful, step toward creating a sustainable community to live in.

Our goal is to produce active, knowledgeable and engaged citizens. Many schools talk about doing school differently, but we have a track record of authentic school reform and genuinely meeting the needs of all learners. We have been using and improving the ELOB model since 1992. Visitors to our school constantly remark on how friendly, well behaved and knowledgeable our students are. They are amazed how much freedom and self-direction our kids have. We believe that this culture is a result of doing real work with real tools, like the ones we are asking for. We would be very grateful for any help that you can provide with this project. We are proud of our gardens, and would love to feature your contributions on our website and with visitors from around the country.

Mr. Sibley
Grades 6-8
More than half of students from low‑income households

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5 donors5 donors have given to this project.

This project will reach 90 students.

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Where Your Donation Goes

Materials Cost Quantity Total
Composter Schoolyard Gourmet • Carolina Biological Supply Company $110.25 3 $330.75
Worm Composter Classroom Kit • Carolina Biological Supply Company $93.15 3 $279.45

Materials cost


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Total project cost


Suggested donation to help DonorsChoose reach more classrooms


Total project goal


How we calculate what's needed

Total project goal


4 Donors


Donations toward project cost


Donations to help DonorsChoose reach more classrooms


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Project Activity

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