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Madeline Ramsey fills up used food items into the school’s exterior compost bin. She made the bin as a part of her Gold Award Project for her girl scout troop.

Kenston High School has a new outside decoration after junior Madeline Ramsey’s Girl Scout Gold Award project brought a home-built composting unit to the school.

Madeline, 17, from Bainbridge and a part of Girl Scout Troop no. 71146, said the Gold Award project, the counterpart of the Boy Scouts of America’s Eagle Scout project, is a solo-based service project. The designation can be earned for girls between grades 9-12.

“You have to reach out in the community,” Madeline explained, adding that there are three levels to the award: bronze, silver and gold.

“The bronze and silver [award] you do when you’re younger with the help of adults and with the help of the troop and other people. The gold award, you have to be the one leading [the project].”

Madeline, who is the president of the Garden Club at the high school and the secretary of the school’s Envirothon program, said that a compost bin for the school would be the perfect solution to tie in two things she loves participating in with her Gold Award project.

“40-percent of all food in the US, which is about 108 billion pounds, is wasted every year,” she said.

The project for Madeline became simple: build a compost bin for the high school.

“I got the DIY [do-it-yourself] video by looking it up on YouTube,” she explained. “We measured how much compost the cafeteria takes out every week by having the cafeteria staff put food in compost bins and measuring by using five-gallon buckets from Home Depot.”

Madeline said she received supplies, such as wooden pallets to house the composting bins, as part of donations from the school’s maintenance department and local businesses in the Chagrin Valley.

“I am grateful to the many donors and businesses who gave wooden pallets, tolls and more to make my project possible,” she said.

Madeline worked with the district’s nutrition services director, Andrew Mendez, who said he “enjoyed” working with her on the project.

“I was really impressed when she came to me with the idea and the vision she had for the project,” Mr. Mendez said.

“She worked diligently to bring it to fruition and helped to keep it sustainable after her time at Kenston.

“It is very inspiring to see young students, like Madeline, come up with ideas that leave an impact beyond our scope of work here at Kenston,” he concluded.

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