Growing Green: Ohio Teen’s Composting Project for a Sustainable Future
All Articles

Growing Green: Ohio Teen’s Composting Project for a Sustainable Future

The Climate Leaders Fellowship is a leadership development program for students interested in climate change and environmental sustainability. The online program is provided by a collaboration between the Stanford University Deliberative Democracy Lab and the Rustic Pathways Foundation.

Leah joined the fourth cycle of the fellowship this spring. Read her story below!

Leah Gill
Edison High School
Milan, Ohio

My name is Leah Gill. I’m a sophomore in high school from Milan, Ohio (near Cedar Point). I love to ride horses and do photography.

With my fellowship project, I was trying to spread more awareness in my community because we are further behind than most areas.

Living in a rural community, we have lots of crop waste and other food waste. I specifically wanted to make an impact in food preservation and conservation. So, I made a composting project for the extra food waste in my school’s cafeteria to collect raw scraps of fruits and vegetables when food prepping. The goal of my project was to eliminate food waste while the staff prepares the food for our school.

I worked closely with our school’s food director and city health department to make it happen. I couldn’t have done it without their help! We then collected it weekly and put it in a composting tumbler to be used for landscaping and other fertilizer projects.

My project reduced the amount of waste sent to landfills by using specific food scraps for composting. I collected over 5 gallons of composting material and made history because this was the FIRST time that we have tried composting in my school!

Eventually, I will expand my target audience beyond school staff to the entire cafeteria, including students.Through the Climate Leaders Fellowship, I saw the impact of just how much a small amount of composting can make a difference. It taught me how to get active in my community and school and make a positive impact.

Our next fellowship cycle launches soon.  For more information and to sign up, please visit our Climate Leaders Fellowship program page.

About the Author

Kayla Anzalone

Kayla joined Rustic Pathways in 2020 as the Director of Special Projects. She has nearly a decade of experience in communications and marketing. At Rustic Pathways, Kayla is dedicated to helping high school students discover their passion for exploring the world through summer travel programs. She drives impactful initiatives to empower students through meaningful travel experiences worldwide. Based in San Jose, California, Kayla loves the outdoors, live music and travel.