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Berkeley County to host Master Composter Training Seminar

Class size is limited for the three-day seminar and reservations must be made by Wednesday

April 25, 2013

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Area residents interested in mastering the practice of composting may register for the Eastern Panhandle’s first-ever Master Composter Training Seminar, which is set to be held next week.

The certification program will be taught at the Berkeley County administration office building at 400 W. Stephen St. in Martinsburg by Larry Wilhelm of the Organic Recycling Institute, according to the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority.

Class size is limited for the three-day seminar and reservations must be made by Wednesday. A $40 student fee also must be pre-paid.

“Composting has always been an important part of our recycling program,” Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority chairman Clint Hogbin said in a news release.

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“Now we are expanding our efforts to include a greater emphasis on recycling of organics, which is the largest component of our waste stream.”

Composting helps reduce solid waste in landfills, organic materials in waste treatment systems and the amount of store-bought chemicals applied to gardens and yards, Hogbin said.

Wilhelm has taught the course in more than 165 cities in eight states after he was hired to create the master composter program for the state of Texas, according to the news release.

“Composting is the original form of recycling,” Wilhelm said in the news release. “And we need to relearn these principles of nature. Once we realign our priorities, a lot of our solid waste problems become more manageable, or even disappear, as we begin to follow nature’s way.”

The program will include both classroom and “hands-on” instruction. In addition to the training, participants will also receive a composting book and a composting thermometer, according to the news release.

Each trained master composter intern will still need to volunteer 20 hours in their community to obtain full certification, according to the news release.

The seminar will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 .m. on Thursday and Friday and 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

A lifelong conservationist, Wilhelm has been active in the national trails movement, open space, wildlife habitat, water quality issues and creating award winning programs for green classrooms and community gardens, according to the news release. In 1988, his Earthworks classes were recognized for Excellence in Environmental Education by the US-EPA.

Any person interested in attending can pre-register by contacting the Solid Waste Authority at 304-267-9370 or by email at berkeleycountyswa@msn.com. 

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