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Turning pumpkins from orange to green at Willow Creek Elementary

Turning pumpkins from orange to green at Willow Creek ElementaryWhen fourth-grader Anjali Kanitkar learned that throwing pumpkins away was harmful to the environment, this Willow Creek Elementary student decided to do something about it.

About 650,000 tons of pumpkins are thrown away each year, releasing methane gas. Last fall, Kanitkar, who is on her school’s Student Council, reached out to her teachers to see if she could organize a pumpkin composting project.

“There were a lot of details to figure out,” Kanitkar explained. “We had to find a truck and the composting center and make announcements and posters, but a lot of people helped.”

On the big day, Kanitkar and her parents brought the truck to the school, where about 500 people brought more than 200 pumpkins to compost. The pumpkins were then delivered to Denver Leaf Drop, a Denver-based program.

“The environment gives us so much, but pollution and trees being cut down is a problem,” Kanitkar said. “If all communities do things like this, we can make a big difference. If you try your hardest and put all your effort into it, you can get big things done.”

The project was supported by Willow Creek principal Mary Whitney as well as teachers Kathryn Groenweghe and Catherine Krantz, who support the Student Council. 

Kanitkar was proud that so many people brought pumpkins and were able to help the environment. She hopes to organize the pumpkin composting project again next year, and hopes it will continue after her graduation from the school. Organizing something this big was new for her, but she doesn’t think it will be the last project. 

“Centennial doesn’t have a compost center,” Kanitkar said. “That should be my next project!”


Posted 1/22/24.