Compost Badge

(Discover Agriculture)
Written by the Rockaway Frontiers 4-H Club Troop 345


Penguin:  Do 3 requirements including the 2 starred.

____*1) What is compost? What is it good for?  What types of food can and cannot go into home compost?  Why?  Understand basic safety rules for working around a compost pile and know why it is important to wash well when you are done. 
____*2)  Watch some food decompose, like letting a pumpkin rot.  'Discuss how it changes with an adult.


Otters:  Do 4 requirements including the 2 starred.

____*1) Do Penguin requirements 1 &2.  Do compost in a bottle project or set up a compost pile in your yard.
____*2)  What are decomposers? And how do they help in the composting process.  What does heat do for the decomposition process? Will things decompose even without heat?


Dolphins:  Do 5 requirements including the 2 starred.

____ 1.*   Do Otter Requirements 1&2.  While watching food decompose in a compost heap, document it by drawing or photographing it at various stages.

____ 2.*  Understand Primary Consumers, Secondary Consumers, Tertiary Consumers and the role each plays in composting.


Butterflies:  Do 6 requirements including the 2 starred.

____ 1.*  Do Dolphin requirements 1 &2.  What do you need to mix together to have an effective compost pile?  Understand why an effective mix is essential to a good compost pile.

____ 3.  What are 3-4 different kinds of compost? How are each made?  What are the hazards associated with a compost pile?


Eagles:  Do 7 requirements including the 2 starred.

____ 1.*  Do Butterfly requirements 1&2.  Why is air/aeration so important for making compost? Can food compost if there is no or low oxygen? (Yes- anaerobic composting is usually slow and smelly though.)

____ 2.*  14. What are the 4 stages of Compost?  Understand each one and what is happening both chemically and physically during each stage.
a. The four phases include: 1) the mesophilic phase; 2) the thermophilic phase; 3) the cooling phase; and 4) the curing phase.


Owls:  Do 9 requirements including the two starred.

_____ 1. *  Do Eagle requirements 1 & 2

_____ 2. *  Teach someone how to do a skill from this badge or teach some knowledge about this badge to someone.   You can teach kids, your spouse, seniors, anyone, just as long as you are sharing your new found knowledge.   If for some reason you cannot teach what you have learned to someone else, you may choose an additional 2 optional requirements instead.


Optional  requirements:

3.  Learn about different types of soils/dirt. What makes some soil better for growing plants?  Try growing seeds in at least 2  different types of soil both with and without compost.  What are the results?

4.   Find out what makes compost smell? Does it have to smell?

5.   Read a book about composting.

6.  Research jobs or hobbies that use or make compost.

7.   Earn the Worms badge and understand the role worms play in compost.
8.   Why is composting a good thing to do- either at the city level or home level? Why is it good to keep organic foods out of the landfill?
9.  What is the Carbon Cycle? What is the Nitrogen Cycle? Why are these important in the Compost pile? What is the PERFECT Ratio for a compost pile?
10.  What is the right level of moisture/water for a compost pile? Why does it make a difference? - Happiest compost has a moisture level of 40-60% so it feels damp to the touch. Below 35% decomposers cannot work as fast and at 30%, they some decomposing altogether. IF its too wet- 60% it can lead to stinky anaerobic conditions.
11. What are some different ways composting can happen at home/community? Research the different types of home compost bins and name at least 1 difference between them.

12.  Research what kind of composting your community may have. Yard waste pickup? Or food compost? Visit their facility or take an online tour of a similar facility of possible.

13.   Earn the Gardening Badge using compost for some of the plants!

14.   Visit a compost/mulch and soil yard or garden center and learn how they make it.



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4 Stages of Compost