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Volunteer Spotlight: Melanie Schwab

How did you find Solana Center?
My relationship with Solana Center began a very long time ago, when it was known as Solana Recyclers. I was a kindergarten teacher at Bay Park Elementary School. Somehow, I connected with the volunteer coordinator at that time and asked her to come do a recycling and worm composting presentation, for my kindergarten class. That was when I fell in love with worms and so did my students. We immediately began composting our lunch scraps. Sometime during the next few years we received a large worm bin from Solana Center.  Our entire school began recycling lunch scraps. It was a ton of work and lots of fun getting the students engaged in the process.

Why do you volunteer with us?
I have attended many of your workshops but only started to volunteer, when I retired from teaching, two years ago. I've always wanted to be part of your organization and now I finally have the time.  It is an honor to volunteer with the wonderful, amazingly smart, dedicated people at Solana Center.

I do a lot of composting with fruit/veggie scraps and freeze some vegetable scraps to make soup stocks. Not much goes to waste in my kitchen.

What is your favorite way (or ways) you reduce your carbon footprint/care for the environment?
I've always been interested in recycling and gardening. Currently, my focus is on using up vegetables and fruit scraps. I do a lot of composting with fruit/veggie scraps and freeze some vegetable scraps to make soup stocks. Not much goes to waste in my kitchen. I have removed my front and back lawns and replaced them with a more Southern California friendly landscape. My next step is to begin using gray water from my washer to water the plants in my front yard.

What are some of your other hobbies/passions?
I love the outdoors. I'm happiest when I'm swimming in the ocean, gardening or hiking in the mountains or desert. I'm happy to be in Encinitas and thankful for my family, friends and of course, Solana Center.

Interested in volunteering with us? Visit our Volunteer Page for info on how you can get involved!