Thursday, July 12, 2018

Become a Master Composter!


Guest blogger Kylie Johnson

As a fellow compost enthusiast, it’s an honor to be a guest blogger for Michelle. My love for composting began when I lived at the Ohio University Ecohouse during grad school. However, I had been composting for years before that without even realizing it! Growing up on a farm, we would throw our food scraps in a pile over the hill. I noticed that the pile would break down, but it wasn’t until grad school that I learned those food scraps were being transformed into “black gold.” 

At the Ecohouse, we had a simple 3-bin compost system made out of pallets and a worm factory for vermicomposting. The process of composting fascinated me so much that I dedicated my graduate thesis to the topic. Thanks to funding from Georgetown University and the USDA Forest Service, I was able to conduct research in Edinburgh, Scotland, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland focused on the viability of composting in urban areas.

Fast forward to today. As the Green Learning Station Coordinator at the Civic Garden Center, it is a dream come true to share my passion for composting with the community by teaching basic backyard composting classes, leading field trips, and now managing the Master Composter Certification Program. Little did I know when I was first introduced to composting that there’s so much to learn that you can fill entire books on the topic! If you have basic composting knowledge and a desire to dive deeper into the topic, the Master Composter Series is for you.

Students in the 2017 Master Composter class learn to screen compost in Walnut Hills.


The Master Composter Series is a unique opportunity offered once a year at the Civic Garden Center to gain a more in-depth understanding of the composting process. Through a combination of lectures, demonstrations, and field trips, attendees are trained to become composting ambassadors in their communities. A sneak peek at some of the topics covered include:
  • In-vessel composting
  • Vermicomposting
  • Bokashi
  • Chemistry of compost
  • Biochar
  • Much more!
This series includes 20 hours of intensive composting instruction during Wednesdays in August (1, 8, 15, 22) from 9 am – 3:30 pm. Wednesday morning lectures will be complemented by afternoon field study sessions that will introduce participants to different types of composting operations in the Cincinnati area. The final piece to obtaining certification as a Master Composter is the completion of 30 volunteer hours in which participants pass on their knowledge and contribute to local composting projects.

A small fee of $40 includes 10 hours of classroom instruction, 10 hours of field study experience, and the opportunity to earn certification with perfect attendance and successful completion of 30 documented volunteer hours. Please note that this is an advanced course, some basic composting knowledge is expected.

Ready to sign up? Follow these two easy steps: 1) Register for the course on our website. 2) Complete a simple application and pre-test which will be emailed to you once you register online.

Don’t miss your chance to join this unique opportunity! Contact Kylie Johnson at kjohnson@civicgardencenter.org for more details.

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