Solana Center's science-based school programs inspire and empower students to live sustainably, to reduce and rethink waste, and to become change-makers on their campuses and in their communities.

Eco-Literacy Program Offerings

Designed to be adapted for grades K-12, Solana Center is proud to offer in-person or virtual environmental lessons to students. Teachers can choose one or more of these NGSS-aligned lessons to meet their needs.

Nature Never Wastes

From the food scraps in your kitchen to the leaves on a forest floor, nature recycles every living thing back into useful resources. Let's explore how we can work with nature's systems to keep our planet healthy. Available as a single lesson or an in-depth, two-part series.

Compost Critters

This presentation will break down the process of decomposition. We'll dig in to learn how invertebrates, fungi, and bacteria play an important role in all ecosystems, including a compost pile! Available as a single lesson or an in-depth, two-part series.

Worms Save the World
The humble earthworm is a hero in our soil and compost! Get to know these wiggly wonders and how to partner with them for a greener world. Available as a single lesson or a comprehensive 3-part series.

Learn more about presentations for unincorporated San Diego County schools

For more information about scheduling or details on pricing for incorporated San Diego region schools, contact: | (760) 436-7986 ex. 708

Learn more about City of San Diego school programming

For more information about scheduling or details on pricing for incorporated San Diego City schools, contact:| (760) 436-7986 ex. 709

At the core of Solana Center’s mission is education. We know that school funding typically prioritizes other pressing educational and social needs and environmental curriculum is often limited in low-income schools. Considering that environmental education can actually be more important in these underserved communities, our team continues to seek partners to provide this service throughout the region. Learn more about our efforts around this.

Custom School Presentations

While our contracts with the County of San Diego (serving unincorporated San Diego County) and the City of San Diego fully fund school presentations in their respective jurisdictions, we often get requests from schools in other locations outside of our contracted jurisdictions.

We welcome all other requests for school visits, and have options for both Solana Center to visit your school, or for your school to come to our site for an educational tour. While we currently charge for these visits, we are continuously looking for and applying for grants to help cover the costs of these presentations and we hope to soon be able to offer them free of charge, regardless of school location. Please contact us to learn more.

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Off-Site Presentations

Custom school presentations have the option for us to visit your school or your group visit our Center. Pricing for these presentations includes our team's packing and commute time to your location. Topics offered for this type of presentation are:

  • Vermicomposting
  • Backyard Composting (appropriate for schools that have a garden and compost bin on campus)
  • Compost Critters (an overview of all the macro-decomposers found in a compost bin, plus hands-on time with seasonally available live specimens)

Solana Center Visits

These presentations take place on-site at Solana Center in Encinitas, and include a tour of our site (e-waste collection, active compost bin displays, vermicomposting bins, aerated static piles, and more) and include multiple hands-on opportunities. We can either give a comprehensive presentation of all sustainable projects at our site, or you can select from our lesson topics as a theme. As we have more flexibility on our site, we are able to expand lesson plans. Contact for more information.

Waste Diversion in Schools

School lunch sorting event

The goal of our waste diversion school program is to work with school district stakeholders to create a lunch waste sorting program in order to significantly reduce the amount of waste being taken to the landfill.

California legislation (AB 1826) has made diverting organic waste from the landfills mandatory for schools. By utilizing our waste diversion program, your students will already have the training and experience to meet diversion goals.

Sorting Stations

Solana Center works with school staff to develop lunch waste sorting stations appropriate to your current lunch waste streams.


Training is provided for cafeteria and administrative staff to guide waste prevention and diversion from food services.


Custom education presentation will be created to support the program covering the 4 Rs (reuse, reduce, recycle, and rot), vermicomposting, and an introduction to your new sorting station. Students learn the importance of properly sorting their waste.

Waste Audits

Waste audits will be performed before and after education to allow a metric for determining lunch waste sorting success.

After our education and outreach, one school in the San Ysidro School District achieved 96% accuracy in lunch waste sorting, enabling more of their waste stream to be recycled and composted!

Watch the following video to learn more about our school waste sorting program!

More Resources for Kids: Family Fun Activities!

Environmental protection and conservation is an important goal that the whole family can take action towards. Take a look at the family fun resources for young environmental stewards with more coming soon!