(April 17, 2012) – Third graders at Ridge Elementary School recently received a hands-on lesson about soil health and the benefits of compost and compost tea from R&S Landscaping’s Plant Health Care Technician, Greg Kelly. The class was held as a part of Ridge School’s “Environmental Day” program in honor of Earth Day.

Kelly explained the structure of healthy topsoil compared to the very dry and compacted soil that has difficulty supporting plant life. The students were introduced to the carbon life cycle as nature’s way of replenishing the soil. As an introduction to the to some of nature’s tiniest helpers, magnified images of natural fungi and microorganisms that should live in healthy soil were presented. The students were able to see and feel the difference between poor topsoil and rich, alive compost soil.

Methods of improving soil and plant health, such as fertilizers and compost tea were described to the class as well. Compost Tea is created by extracting the beneficial living micro-organisms from a compost pile in liquid a solution. It has the same beneficial ingredients and organisms alive in compost in a more portable form. This liquid is then applied to trees and shrubs to improve their health from the soil and roots where plants get most of their nutrients.

“We are always happy to participate in environmentally focused programs – especially when they are school sponsored, such as this one,” said Robert Schucker, President of R&S Landscaping. “It’s so important to for children to understand how everything works together in a balanced nature system. Learning how the tiniest microbe, invisible to the naked eye, plays a larger role in the big picture, can effect how they see the world around them.”

R&S Landscaping is a dedicated, long-term supporter of environmental education. In addition to their in-school visits, R&S is holding its second annual Earth Day Poster Contest. The poster contest is open to Bergen County grade school students from the first through eighth grades. Students are asked to design a poster no larger than 11 by 17 inches in size, focusing on one or more beneficial garden bugs, such as ladybugs, praying mantis, lacewings, and assassin bugs. More information about these bugs will be available on the R&S website at www.rscape.com.

Artwork must be drawn or painted on a flat surface with pencil, crayon, marker, paint, or pastel. All posters must be submitted along with a completed entry form to the Whole Foods Market in Ridgewood by closing on April 28 to be eligible for the contest. Entry forms can be obtained at www.rscape.com or at Whole Foods.

The first-place winner of the poster contest will receive four free passes to Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ, and will have their original artwork displayed at Whole Foods Market in Ridgewood for the month of May and posted on R&S Landscaping’s Web site and Facebook page.