Viewpoint School Teacher Talks Trash and Compost

A sustainable future is in reach, but to get there we must plant the seeds of change in our youth today. This is why TreePeople has always invested in schools.

LA is one of the most wasteful cities in the country. But we know we can be better– through empowering kids to take action on their campuses and at home with their families.

The Viewpoint School in Calabasas is an example of putting this thought into action. Here, we teamed up with an amazing science teacher, Mr. Adam Yates,  the campus’ Environmental Sustainability Committee, and Grades of Green to reduce waste and start a composting program.

Mr. Yates started his journey when he planted a native and edible garden and joined the school’s Environmental Sustainability Committee. Later, he attended one of Generation Earth’s recycling workshops to learn how he could expand his campus recycling program with the help of Alyson Schill, TreePeople’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Special Projects Manager.

The Viewpoint School’s compost program started slowly with just a small spinning composting tumbler that was fed garden clippings. But Mr. Yates wanted to take the school’s compost game to the next level. That’s when he teamed up with Alyson and his newly-formed campus EcoClub. They all collaborated to scale the project to involve the cafeteria staff to compost food scraps from the lunch room.

The simple act of taking responsibility for the school’s waste brought the entire community of faculty, students and parents together. Students changed their mindset and learned to be mindful of their waste. The kids felt supported and were excited to move forward with their new passion to make a positive impact.

Students at a Green Team meeting led by Grades of Green, which focused on educating the school community about the importance of reducing, reusing, recycling and composting

The students were ready to do more. Together with Mr. Yates, the school completed a waste audit using the GE Recycling Toolkit to learn just how much food was being thrown away.

The compost and recycling program isn’t slowing down either. Mr. Yates has big plans to expand the initiative to the entire K-12th grade campus! These small actions help students realize they can make a difference to create a climate-ready city for all Angelenos.  In addition, TreePeople referred Mr. Yates to Grades of Green, where he entered Viewpoint School in Grades of Green’s 6th annual Trash Free Lunch Challenge. Through Grades of Green’s support Viewpoint was able to implement lunchtime sorting stations all over campus, and further educate students about the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling.

Through collaboration, with TreePeople, Generation Earth, and Grades of Green, Viewpoint School has been able to set up a sustainable waste diversion program that will last for years to come!

TreePeople is proud to partner with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works for its Generation Earth (GE) Program. The program’s goal is to educate and empower middle school and high school teachers throughout LA to be an active part of the solution to environmental concerns through workshops to solve waste, stormwater, and sustainability challenges on campuses and in local communities.

Are you an LA teacher ready to take climate action??

Attend our next Generation Earth workshop!

By Caitlin Dunham

After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in Forestry and Natural Resource Management, Caitlin discovered a passion for working in social media and marketing and eventually found her way to TreePeople. With her unique forestry and marketing background, Caitlin is now growing and thriving within TreePeople’s Yurt Village. She loves that she can bridge the gap between science and marketing and is at the frontlines of educating Angelenos on trees and how they can save LA.