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Cathy's Crawly Composters


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TD Friends of the Environment Foundation

March, 2012

Mississauga elementary school students get a squirmy lesson in composting


March 1, 2012, Mississauga, ON –The students at St. Alfred Catholic School in Mississauga have some new classmates – Red Wriggler worms. The worms are part of a vermiculture program that will help the school to reduce organic waste. Thanks to funding from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, each classroom now contains composting bins containing Red Wiggler worms.

“The vermiculture program at St. Alfred Catholic School is one of many locally funded vermiculture programs that TD Friends of the Environment Foundation is proud to be supporting throughout the country,” said Mary Desjardins, Executive Director, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. “Seeing projects that engage youth in their local environments is always exciting and it’s encouraging to see students excited about reducing waste in their schools.”

Worm composting, or vermicomposting, is a process that uses worms to digest waste such as food scraps. The end product, known as worm castings, is an excellent fertilizer for soil. Bins containing water, worms and bedding material, such as leaves, shredded newspaper and egg cartons, are filled once or twice a week with worm food – for example, fruit and vegetable peels, tea bags, brown paper towels and other organic material.

St. Alfred’s students will have a real-life, year-long education in worm composting as the worms eat everything in the bins. The castings left over will be harvested by the students and added to soil used in gardens and planters.

“We’re excited to work with TD Friends of the Environment on this exciting, green initiative,” said St. Alfred Catholic School Principal Deanna Tucciarone. “This project gives our students hands-on opportunities to learn invaluable lessons on composting and being good stewards of our environment through responsible management of resources.”

On Tuesday, Cathy Nesbitt, a vermicomposting expert and founder of Cathy’s Crawly Composters, hosted workshops at the school to teach students about the process. According to Nesbitt, St. Alfred is one of a growing number of schools using worms to teach students about composting and waste diversion.

“Vermicomposting is a highly effective solution to the problem of organic waste because it allows worms to do what they do: turn garbage into precious fertilizer,” said Nesbitt. “With the introduction of municipal green bin and compost bin programs, people are becoming more knowledgeable about how to reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfills. As a result, worms will continue to play an increasing role in how we interact with our environment,”

About St. Alfred School

St. Alfred School is a K-8 Catholic elementary school with an enrolment of 460 students, located at 3341 Havenwood Drive, Mississauga. St. Alfred is part of the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, one of the largest and most diverse school boards in Ontario. The school’s motto is “Every Child, A Promise.” Located in a high density, diverse neighbourhood, St. Alfred has one of the highest ratios of ESL students in the board. St. Alfred is a caring community that stresses tolerance and acceptance of others, commitment to the Catholic faith and high academic standards.

About TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF)

Since 1990, TD FEF has provided more than $57 million in funding to more than 20,000 grassroots environment and wildlife projects across Canada. In 2011, TD FEF provided more than $3.6 million in support of 1,058 projects. Thousands of donors give to TD FEF on a monthly basis and TD Bank Group contributes in excess of $1 million annually. TD also covers the management costs of running TD FEF, which guarantees 100 per cent of every dollar donated goes directly to funding environment and wildlife projects in the community where the donation was made. For more information on how to donate and get involved in your community, visit


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