ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Nikki Rosa is seeking the Gold Award with her Girl Scouts project on composting.
By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
NAHANT — Nikki Rosa, 15, is trying to make gold by going green at the Johnson Elementary School.
The Gold Award is the highest achievement in Girl Scouts. It’s open only to high school girls and challenges scouts to change the world — or at least part of it, according to girlscouts.org. The seven-step project should solve a community problem for the short and long term.
Rosa, a sophomore at Swampscott High School, said she felt passionate about reducing the amount of trash produced by her hometown by encouraging composting.
“We are to pick a common issue — a big issue,” she said. “The trash companies have said we’re putting out too much trash for a town as small as we are. I thought if we could start at the school, the kids could bring it home. By 2020, the landfill that Nahant uses will be closed and we’ll have to ship our trash somewhere else.”
Rosa has been involved with Girl Scouts since kindergarten.
“It’s really fun to be a Daisy in Nahant because the grades are so small, pretty much all the girls from your class are there,” she said. “I really wanted to stick with it when I got older.”
She returned to the Johnson School to visit each of the classrooms individually and teach them about the practice of composting. She started by teaching them what items could and could not be put into a compost bin.
“We stuck to fruits and vegetables for the most part to make it easier,” she said.
Rosa created signs with images to remind the children of what she calls the five “don’ts” of composting: meat, bones, dairy, fats and oils.
She implemented the program at lunchtime on Friday, prompting each child to decide whether their garbage should go in the trash or compost pile.
“I learned from Nikki that you shouldn’t put the dairy in (the compost pile),” said Madison Marsh, 8. “You don’t want to get worms.”
Rosa also taught the children that at home, they should add dirt, lawn clippings and leaves to their compost containers and stir it regularly until it becomes dirt, she said.
Ava Ferragamo said she had never heard about composting before but wanted to start her own pile at home.
“I think it’s fun,” she said.
Bridget Turcotte can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.