Meet the ORIGINAL Worm Ohana!

Families from Kailua’s Zero Waste Schools spark a virtual vermicomposting movement

We celebrate and honor our original Zero Waste Worm Ohana, whose participants successfully pioneered a new way to teach and touch our community.  Their experience has inspired multitudes to jump on the vermicomposting bandwagon!

Students of the Windward Zero Waste School Hui practice Resource Recovery every day. Kids of all ages diligently sort food waste at breakfast and lunch and assist with many aspects of campus composting operations.  Large-scale worm colonies require many hands to tear cardboard bedding, shred paper, harvest, screen, and package vermicast.  In addition to an innovative academic component, meaningful environmental education through daily, hands-on, personal discovery is the hallmark of the Zero Waste School movement.

When schools were closed during the 2020 COVID lockdown, all learning was forced online.  How could we provide the rich, high-touch, interactive school composting experience to students and parents stuck at home?  

A generous grant from the Sacharuna Foundation made it possible, enabling fifty Zero Waste School families to embark on a challenging six-month, virtual Learn to Worm project.  Starting September 26, 2020, parents attended a Worm Workshop to receive a fully-equipped worm bin with 1/4 pound of worms to take home.  Weekly instructional videos guided them through the vermicomposting process step-by-step, concluding in April with a group Zoom harvest.  Everyone logged data and reported regularly to the website dashboard.

When all individual efforts were combined, the numbers were astonishing – the Power of the Collective manifests a huge impact!   Learn to Worm families diverted 4,641 pounds of food from the waste stream, propagated 44.6 pounds of worms, produced over 127 gallons of vermicast, and shared their worms and worm knowledge with 12 new households.

Who expected the COVID-inspired interactive website format to prove so effective and motivational? The Oahu Community Worm Ohana was launched in June of 2021 to invite everyone on our island aboard to keep the momentum going.  So far, the results have been spectacular, with no end in sight.  Return to the Worm Ohana website to find out how YOU can Learn to Worm!

The Windward Zero Waste School Hui is a project of Oahu Resource Conservation and Development Council, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

With the switch from dumpster disposal to Resource Recovery, campuses have been transformed. Daily participation of over 2,000 students puts Zero Waste concepts into practice at Ka’ōhao, Ka’elepulu, Kainalu, Enchanted Lake and Kailua Intermediate Schools.  The Learn to Worm Virtual Vermicomposting project – presented by the Windward Zero Waste School Hui and the Sacharuna Foundation – created an opportunity to extend our knowledge and environmental activism far beyond the schoolyard.