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Sustainability in Schools

Solana Center’s 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 for Unincorporated San Diego County Schools

Designed for grades 3 - 5, Solana Center is proud to offer virtual lessons to students at unincorporated County schools. 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.
  • 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:
    • Microscopic Marvels: Many decomposers are too tiny to be seen, but together their impact is huge! Dive into the miniature world of microbes to understand their contributions to harmonious habitats.
    • Wiggle, Crawl, & Sprawl: We’re already familiar with some important composting helpers, such as worms, beetles, and mushrooms. Let’s meet the whole team and examine how each one assists with decomposition.
  • 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:
    • Meet the Worms: Learn how earthworms recycle food waste into a valuable resource for soil and plants, and why this is an important step in keeping our planet clean.
    • 5 Hearts, No Eyes, & a Happy Home: Worms are different from us in so many ways - and yet, they share many of the same basic needs. Explore a worm’s anatomy and how each unique trait can be provided for while making their home.
    • Go for the (Black) Gold: Worms transform our “waste” back into dark, rich soil. We’ll discuss harvesting this black gold for the garden and how to troubleshoot common problems along the way.

To schedule FREE presentations for your unincorporated San Diego County school, contact Nam at | (760) 436-7986 x709

Eco-Literacy Programs for Underserved Schools

Through generous funding from the Qualcomm Foundation, Solana Center is offering FREE programs on composting and other conservation topics to underserved schools throughout the San Diego region. If you are interested, please contact Allie to see if your school qualifies: | (760) 436-7986 x711

Waste Diversion in Schools

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.

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

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

  3. A 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.

  4. 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 of lunch waste sorting, enabling more of their waste stream to be recycled and composted!

Watch this video to learn more about our school waste sorting program.

Participating Schools

Waste Diversion programs have been developed for these schools/school districts:

  • Schools in unincorporated County of San Diego including Monterey Ridge Elementary (Poway USD) and Bonsall Elementary (Bonsall USD)

  • Encinitas Union School District – All elementary schools

  • San Ysidro School District – La Mirada Elementary School

  • Carlsbad Unified School District – All elementary schools

Get your school started with waste diversion programming by contacting | (760) 436-7986 x704

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!