Wednesday, 16 March 2016 00:00
Sharing of individual sustainable classroom projects; Malang Students Learn Wonders of Worm-farming
Students and communities in Malang, East Java province, have been learning about the importance of earthworms in transforming organic waste into productive soil. A one-day workshop on worm-farming was organized by State Junior High School 22 (SMPN 22) of Malang in cooperation with Jeannette Giegerich of GIZ PAKLIM. While some people may not be fond of worms, the workshop’s participants learned that these small creatures are amazing. Not only do worms relish eating the organic waste that humans produce, but they also produce ‘juice’ and castings, which are wonderful for the health of soil and gardens. Worm-farming is a ‘Sustainability Classroom’ project, ideal for schools that are using eco-mapping to tackle the problem of organic waste disposal. The participating state vocational high schools (SMKN) and communities learned not only how to diminish organic waste and fertilize the soil, but also that worms can be a source of income. Worm-farming provides students with experience and practical knowledge about soil ecosystems. This learning can be implemented in regular classes and extracurricular courses. The workshop took place across three locations: Malang Wastebank Community, worm-farm business Rumah Alam Jaya Organik (RAJ Organik) and SMPN 22 Malang. Participants included staff and students from SMKN 3 Probolinggo, SMKN 3 Malang and SMKN 6 Malang, as well as representatives from Malang Environmental Agency, Probolinggo Environmental Agency and Bangu Jaya Farmers Group of Probolinggo. Mrs Kamal, a representative of Malang Wastebank Community, explained to the participants that a wastebank works by paying people for recyclable trash. Moving to RAJ Organik, the participants visited one of the biggest worm farms in Malang. Mr Adam Maulida, the owner, explained how to build a worm farm and the motivation behind his business. He also talked about organic waste management and how worms can be used for fishing pools and as an ingredient in cosmetics. The afternoon session took place at SMPN 22, where teachers and students from the extracurricular worm-farming group demonstrated their activity. Teachers and farmers discussed the necessary conditions, facilities, equipment and skills for establishing and maintaining a worm farm, as well as how to integrate worm-farming into the school curriculum. The students learned about the anatomy, reproduction and life cycle of worms. They also learned that worm castings are a fantastic carbon store and how worms allow carbon to be sequestered into the soil. The workshop concluded with a presentation on how schools can develop their own worm-farming establishment action plan. Participants received mementos in the form of young markisa (passion fruit) vines, vermicompost and organic vegetables from SMPN 22. One of the aims of sharing the ‘Sustainability Classroom’ concept is to give other schools an understanding of relevant environmental issues and then arm students with simple daily activities that can make a big difference to their world. Keeping a worm farm teaches some of these basic skills, changing the way students dispose of organic waste.