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Food scraps composting one of several spring break library activities offered

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KENT – Kent Center School was on spring break last week and Kent Memorial Library took the opportunity to offer a wide range of programs for the town’s youngest residents.

Carol Franken of the Kent Conservation Commission, right, shares examples of compost in different stages of decomposition during an April 18 program at Kent Memorial Library. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington

Trenton Whitmore of Brookfield was visiting his grandparents, JoAnn and Kenny Whitmore, April 18, and took part in the “Let’s Compost” program that was taught by Kent Conservation Commission member Carol Franken. Trenton and four other children learned about turning food scraps into compost. 

Library staff member Libby Mueller even shared tubs of her compost from home, so the children could see it in different stages – fresh organic waste, six months of partial decomposition, and what it looks like after one year and has turned into humus. 

“Anything that comes from nature can go into the compost,” Franken said.

She went through common words and repeated them several times. She enlisted volunteers to hold up placards with the words and shake them around whenever they were repeated.

JoAnn Whitmore of Kent assists her grandson, Trenton Whitmore of Brookfield, with measuring the bag of waste, after the organic waste was removed. Everett and Josiah Newton of Warren wait to measure their bag April 18 program at the Kent Memorial Library. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington

Franken asked the children to decide which items in a bag of trash could be composted. The bags were weighed. The food scraps and organic waste was removed, and then the bags weighed again. 

One group’s bag went from 2.25 pounds to 1 pound, another bag went from 3 pounds to 2 pounds and then the final group’s bag went from 3.25 pounds to 1.75 pounds.

“A good percentage of our trash is food scraps,” said Franken. She noted that while a lot of people in Kent do backyard composting, those who don’t are lucky the town has a program to bring food scraps to the transfer station.

She shared photos from the transfer station and explained that the food scraps are transported to a facility in New Milford to be composted.

The youth services staff at the library knows that their programming is important for children to have activities during spring break, particularly for those parents who have to work through the break. Kate Zarin, director of Youth Services and staffer Dorothy Shackelford plan a variety of activities each year.

Kathy Newton of Warren talks with her grandsons, Everett and Josiah Newton, during the ‘Let’s Compost’ program presented April 18 by the Kent Conservation Commission at Kent Memorial Library. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington

“For parents who are working, kids still need something to do,” Zarin said.

The week began with a family movie, followed by Lego construction the next day, which is always popular. A new event was added this year merging poetry and art.  Participants ranged in age from 3 to 9 years old and they could pick out a poem to use as inspiration or write their own, which at least one child chose to do.  They painted a picture inspired by the poetry.

During breaks from school, the library sees more grandparents and non-parental child care providers accompanying children to programs.

“We want those grandparents to feel included and accepted,” said Shackelford.

Lynn Worthington
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