Composting – Can You Do This AND Keep out the Bears?

When the Outdoor School challenged the camps to compost everything from the dining hall at the camps they use several years ago, Camp Howard answered the challenge.

Karen von Borstel purchased a book on composting and then set out to get it done at Camp Howard.  She brought in some straw from the family farm in North Central Oregon, gathered some branches, manure from the local horse farm (to hide the scents from bears), dug some trenches and then put out the collection barrels at the dining hall.

The ODS counselors began filling the collection barrels which Karen picked up with the tractor and hauled down to the garden area.  She dumped the waste into the trench and covered it with the branches, manure, straw and dirt.  The waste included paper cups and plates and biodegradable table ware at times.  The paper ware disintegrated practically overnight and steam would roll off of the mixture as it “perked”!

Camp Howard continues to compost year around and what a great soil additive in the garden area!

But those bears…they tried to get into the compost from time to time but the perfecting of the process has, over time, effectively kept them out of the composting area!  If you need some tips on composting, I am sure Karen would be happy to give you some tips from her own experience!

BELOW: The soil at Camp Howard is rich.  The additives from composting has added to that richness and much is grown in the garden at the camp that adds to the food needs throughout the year.



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