Wasteless Horsemen Initiative Brings Sustainability to the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns

Photo by Cara Tomao

The Wasteless Horsemen Initiative focuses on zero-waste practices that help reduce the amount of trash the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns produces. The district plans to strengthen its environmental awareness and impact by focusing on sustainability with the goal of having all schools within the district participate in the program.

The initiative was launched in the fall at John Paulding Elementary School and was recently introduced to W.L. Morse School. It builds on the practices of reducing, reusing and recycling to teach students how to be conscious of the amount of waste they produce.

With support from community groups such as the Tarrytown & Sleepy Hollow village governments, Mothers Out Front, and parent volunteers in the lunchroom, students have been guided as they master their new sorting skills. So far, students have been quick learners and are proud of the life skills they’re mastering at a young age.

“We have evidence of dramatic reduction in trash. At JP, the average daily kindergarten lunch trash went down from 99 pounds per day to seven. At Morse, the average daily trash went from 140 pounds per day to eight,” said Kirsten Bourne, the Environmental Education Consultant for the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns. “If you look at our 180-day school year, we will be diverting 40,320 pounds of trash from just these two campuses, avoiding it being burned at the trash incinerator in Peekskill, which is the largest industrial air polluter in the county.”

Photo by Cara Tomao

A worm composting bin has been installed on the west edge of Morse that allows students to engage in a deeper understanding of the natural compost cycle while providing a hands-on learning experience as they feed food scraps to the worms. Morse’s Eco Club will use the nutrient-rich compost that is produced to maintain several new growing areas on the campus.

The Washington Irving Intermediate School, Sleepy Hollow Middle School, and Sleepy Hollow High School will be joining the initiative in the coming school years.

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