First Composting Program at LFAS Starts With A Bang

November 12, 2011

Breaking News, Community, LFAS Heros

by Rebecca Nicolato

Deven Azevedo, a grade 11 student at Langley Fine Arts School, has founded the first composting program at Langley Fine Arts School.Two years ago, Deven and his sister, Andhra, had a conversation about wanting to do something socially positive for their community.  The idea was derived from exposure to their father’s profession as a solid waste engineer for the City of Abbotsford – he is also working to create a composting collection system.

“It’s important to me,” Deven explained, “because it’s important for society’s sustainability.  I would like to see modern society, at least most of it, exist for a while longer, and I think recycling and composting are important parts of ensuring a prosperous future for humankind.”

The idea struck the siblings in 2010, but with it being Andhra’s graduating year, and Deven being a grade nine student at the time, he felt he couldn’t start such a large project on his own. So he scrapped the idea for the time being.

At the beginning of 2011, Deven again had the urge to start something positive in his community – only this time he pushed himself to start and not stop.

Re-inspired last March, Deven emailed the school’s principal, Mr. Bonner, asking if he would support a composting program.  Once he had the okay to start the program, he contacted one of the teachers at the school, Mr. Ames.

“Mr. Ames was very supportive and helpful” Deven said, “especially with regards to thinking over the logistics of the program.”

A month and a half later Deven had a small group, keen to help with the success of the project.  Aidan Hoffman, Lucy Clarkson, Esther and Lydia Rhi, Ethan Honeywell, Liam West, and Sydney Gobin joined Deven to become the founding members of the program.

With a strong group and the okay from the school’s principal, the group now needed to find funding, which they got from the school’s PAC.

“The goal of the program was never to make money,” Deven said.  “Rather we decided to return the compost to the school’s garden to show our appreciation to the PAC for their funding and to the school for taking part in the preservation of our environment.”

With the PAC’s support, they built composters, set up compost bins in the school’s hallways and classrooms and started collecting.

The program has been active since the first day of the 2011 school year.  The success of the program is huge; Deven estimates that in the past two months the group has collected 200 litres of compost.  “Each week we see a slight but noticeable increase of the amount of compost we see in our bins at the end of each day.”

When asked if he would like to expand the program to other schools, Deven answered positively. “When I think of the possibly of this, I am always intimidated by the population of other high schools in Langley.  They would have the potential to generate many times the amount of compostable waste that our school currently does, which is a fair amount.  It would certainly be a daunting task… however, if someone from another school was looking for help in trying to set up a compost collection system at their school, I’d be more than willing to help.”

Something Deven is looking to change in the program either later in the year or next year, “Is to get the elementary students in the school more involved in order to ensure the program has a strong future.”

Anyone interested in helping with the program is  encouraged to contact Deven Azevedo at devenazevedo@gmail.com or at 778-878-8536.  Any age is welcome, as are  parents, teachers, and family members.

Composting bins can be found in the front foyer of the school as well as in the hallways and the school cafeteria.

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