I spent the last two and a half months developing and facilitating a section in the City of Calgary’s Healthy Yards Program. This program is run once or twice a year through the Parks business unit and covers three main sections that assist Calgarians to strive to have a “healthy yard”. The three components are: Water Conservation, Composting, and Integrated Pest Management. The participants in this free program attend a two and a half hour session and receive a rain barrel and a composter for their yards.
The goal of the program is to provide the resident with the tools to create a yard that improves environmental sustainability, improve diversity and preserve resources.
Money can be a barrier to participation. I am extremely happy that the City offers free programming to allow anyone to attend these sessions…so long as they sign up, as space is limited.
In one of my first posts, I mentioned how organic material isn’t breaking down in the landfill, and how important composting is to the success of waste diversion. Before I started working for Waste and Recycling Services I didn’t really have any connection with my garbage. My parents and grandparents composted and recycled so I grew up with that being normal. I didn’t realize that organics weren’t breaking down in landfills, so I couldn’t be the only one out there who was under this impression. My goal through the Healthy Yards program is to have honest conversations with Calgarians to set the record straight. If they choose to compost their food and yard waste in their backyard composters, then they can reap the benefits of the organic recycling they can do on their own! And most importantly all those valuable materials stay out of the landfill.
The best part, in my opinion, other than the free program, is the follow up that Parks does with the participants. They ask for photos of the yard before and after, and also will visit the yards. This is incentive for participants to work on making their yard a "healthy" one!