Editor:

I was pleased to see Bryna Zumer's article in last week's Aegis about the growing popularity of solar electric power.

I was disappointed Harford County Public Schools did not get mentioned, as we were one of the first to install photo-voltaic systems on seven of our schools in 2011.  I have attached information about our systems. More recently, we were recognized for being one of the first school systems in the state to implement a comprehensive commercial composting program at several schools. I am certain that many other school systems and local governments will follow our lead. I have attached a brief article I wrote for [the school system's] website for your reference.

Andrew Cassilly

Resource Conservation Manager

Harford County Public Schools

The school system's release:

Harford County Public Schools was recognized in may for their pilot organics recycling program at this annual event. The pilot composting program is currently in its fifth year of operation and has expanded to ten school sites. "We are honored to receive this recognition for our organics recycling program.

HCPS is one of the few school systems in the State successfully composting at this level," says Andrew Cassilly, Resource Conservation Manager for the schools. The school system is partnering with Waste Management and Veteran Composting to implement the program. Students and cafeteria employees place food waste in large portable bins. These bins are collected by the contractor and delivered to an offsite composting facility. Once on site the material is processed in to a rich renewable compost that, it is ready for sale to farmers, landscapers, and home owners.

HCPS is using the nutrient rich compost to amend the soil on some of their sports fields. This process makes the fields less compact so they are safer for play and reduces the need to use fertilizer for grass growth. To date the program has diverted an estimated 160,000 pounds of food waste from the land fill. This is equivalent to 336,000 pounds of Co2 emissions avoided in the disposal process. In addition, the program is serving to support the curriculum in our schools. This fall several environmental science teachers are scheduled to tour the Veteran Compost facility in Aberdeen to gather insights for use in their classroom.

School system recognition:

The State House in Boston was the host site for the sixth annual Green Difference Awards in May. The Green Difference Awards Program is an annual recognition program of Green Schools, a non-profit charitable organization whose mission is to create greener and healthier learning environments. The Green Difference Awards honor and empower Environmental Excellence, Leadership, Innovation, and Stewardship led in our Schools & Communities. Schools, Environmental Clubs and Individual Leaders are recognized for their outstanding contributions.