Talkin’ Trash at Atwater Elementary

That’s right, folks, last we spent all class talking about the worst trash you’ve ever heard of! And that would be trash that should have been either recycled, composted, or given a second life.


Since it was another rainy day, we spent the class indoors thinking all about recycling and conserving. I brought in a recycling-based poem to sing together, and once we got to wiggle and shake a little bit, students wrote down examples of things they had thrown away in the past.

The students took turns placing those objects in the correct category, and let me tell you, almost nothing they said should have been put in the trash! Unfortunately this over-eager Ranger forgot to take photos for proof, but the fact is that about 75% of all “trash” can and should be diverted from landfills!

I asked the students what happens to an object to consider it “garbage.” Does something actually change? Is it a physical or mental idea?

I proceeded to bring our trash analogy further… nature is full of what we think of as garbage! Rotten logs, dirty leaves, weeds and half-eaten birdseed. However, everything natural eventually decomposes into compost – dirty, delicious, nutrient-rich soil for our fruits and veggies!


I challenged students to think about what they threw away in the coming week, and if it didn’t belong in the trash, to either recycle it or find a way to reuse it.

Next week, the students will get to have some hands-on compost piling, weather permitting! Hopefully we can plant some seeds, as well as a “waste not, want not” attitude.

Until next time,

Ranger Natalie

team