Return to the Earth
The Importance of Composting and Soil Fertility
By: Tiffany Blubaugh
Frostburg State University held its annual Focus Frostburg event, focusing on sustainability and climate awareness, this year on April 18, 2012. Throughout the day, FSU students and faculty and Frostburg locals were invited to attend the many different free presentations held throughout the day. One event that was available throughout the day was the displays put together by Frostburg students in the ARMAH hall in the Lane Center at FSU. “All of the displays set up in here turned out so nice” stated FSU student Judy Broadwater, a junior from Lonaconing majoring in Wildlife. “I especially like the data shown on each board. It makes you realize how much of an issue these topics really are.”
While many topics were covered on many different presentation boards, one board stood out in specific. This display, titled “Return to the Earth” was studied and put together by FSU students Ana Berninger, Gabrielle Garlitz, Jessica Hamilton, and Kenny Weaver, and covered the topic of composting and soil fertility. This display was set up right beside the doors inside the ARMAH hall, and the members of the group stayed with their display so that they could talk to anyone interested in their topic about the importance. “Many people are unaware of how much composting can do for the Earth.” Stated Kenny Weaver, a Frostburg local and Junior at FSU majoring in Interpretive Biology. “It gives back to the soil. Soil fertility is important because it helps grow food for agriculture.” The location and availability of in person explanation about the topic added to the professional look of the board itself.
In fact, many people don’t realize how much waste they throw away each year that could be used for compost. Berninger, Garlitz, Hamilton, and Weaver came up with their idea for their display by thinking of a way to help FSU students in particular realize not only how much composting can help the Earth, but also how much money is spent to remove their waste, when it could be composted for free. They set out to determine how much compostable material is removed from the Cafeteria and ARAMARK in one year and how much money is spent on the removal of this waste. “It amazed me when I saw how much money FSU spends throwing away items that could just as easily be composted.” Stated Tanisha Washington, a junior biology major at FSU, from Cumberland. “FSU spends $26,141 per year on removing waste that could be composted. That’s a lot of money. It’s like throwing our tuition money into the garbage with the rest of the waste. Something should be done.” This is a concern that was expressed by many students throughout the day when they visited the compost display.
Displays that are presented as well as the “Return to the Earth” display help to attract people each year to the Focus Frostburg event. The fully put together display board was organized way and explained what the point of the project was. While this was enough basic information, this group went above and beyond to make sure that they were able to stand with and explain their display to anyone who had any questions on their presentation. Groups that are motivated and thorough like Weaver’s group are what help to keep Focus Frostburg alive, and help people to see what they can do to help the earth.