Adventures in Leadership and Composting

NJHI 2017: Next Generation Community Leaders Secaucus Next Generation Community Leaders

When summer hits in Secaucus, many high school students can be found at the town pool, in the local air-conditioned movie theater, or hanging out around town with friends.  For the 12 members of the Secaucus Next Generation Community Leaders team, however, summer meant sharpening their leadership skills and increasing community awareness around issues of environmental health. Here are a just few highlights of our summer project:

Secaucus NGCL student Justice Fisher-Fullmore examines compost with Linda Bilsen from the Institute for Local Self Reliance.

Becoming Compost Experts
To kick off our summer project, we participated in a full-day experiential training with the Institute for Local Self Reliance. We learned all about the composting process, ideal compost recipes, and how food waste can become compost that can be used for lawns, gardens, and other green areas. Read more about our training


NGCL Secaucus students from l to r: Alyssa Jaipersaud, Artid Fezjullah, Khoa Nguyen, Ethan Nguyen, Brandon Hoang, Tej Patel, Julian Suarez, Oscar Martinez, Gillian Mosher, Connor Marquez, Jackie Kimmelman, Justice Fisher-Fullmore.

Prepping Our Town’s Rocket Composter
Our town is lucky enough to have a Rocket Composter – a futuristic looking machine that creates compost in-vessel. Our goal for the Rocket was to get it ready so that a permanent food waste collection program can be initiated at the high school and middle schools in the Fall. We tended to the Rocket several times a week, collecting food waste from our local farmers’ market. In the fall, food waste will be collected daily from the cafeteria and will be put into the Rocket Composter. The resulting compost will be used for local gardens instead of ending up in a landfill! Our team will be closely involved in overseeing the use of the machine during the school year, and also plans to develop and implement trainings about food waste and composting for students.

Getting Local Businesses to Go Green”
Team Secaucus went out to nearly every restaurant in town over the course of the summer project and sat down with the owners and managers about our local Environmental Department’s Green Business Initiative. Applying green business processes to local workplaces creates a healthy environment for employees and reduces unnecessary waste.

Next up for the Fall is welcoming new youth members and heading out to Camp Ockanickon for a weekend retreat!

Follow our team’s progress on Instagram and on Facebook and check out #NJLeaders2030 to learn more about the Next Generation Community Leaders program!

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Ryan Palmer
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of Hudson County