Being the Sustainability Coordinator for the Prescott Community Compost was a natural progression for Zach Czuprynski because he served as its Sustainability Coordinator while serving as an Arizona Serve AmeriCorps VISTA of Prescott College member. Today, his role is multifaceted as he manages the “Magic-Art-Science” of composting.
His work encompasses community liaison and consulting, data collection and analyses (waste, water, energy use, etc.), and student engagement and resourcing. Events are planned for students, faculty, and staff to engage in sustainability via waste audits, climate solution simulations, workshops, charrettes, and more. He reports to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and every three years receives feedback via their STARS Report – Sustainability Tracking and Assessment & Rating System.
The “Magic-Art-Science” of composting was explained like this – The Magic happens in the ways that the composting materials are assembled – The Art happens in the ways that the composing materials are turned or manipulated – The Science happens in the ways that the materials work off of one another to create the perfect nutrients for soil.
“We want people to know that their ‘waste’ enables us to change our input to create important nutrients for soils that produce the best growth (of vegetables and other foods) and that their contributions to our composting program is of valuable resources, not waste,” said Czuprynski.
Funded by a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Resources Conservation Services (NRCS), the Prescott Farmers Market which began in 2020 is home to the Prescott Community Composting Program through Prescott Community College.
“During the Prescott Farmers Market on Saturdays, people bring their compost items to add to our composting program and we place them in a new pile – food scraps (greens are nitro and browns are carbons), wood clips, straw, etc. and we build a new pile,” Czuprynski continued. “Every week, the composting program collects about 160 buckets of composting materials which equals about two-thousand pounds of compost!” he said.
The Prescott Community Composting Program has a booth at the Farmers Market on Saturdays and people come to drop off their composting materials. Community members have discovered that composting provides important nutrients to soil that helps build soil structure, recycles waste, and creates very good growth results.
“Zach was an amazing AmeriCorps member,” said Annie Haseley, Executive Director of Arizona Serve. “He is a perfect example of the career development that we see with so many of our service participants. I am just glad that I still get to see him all the time.”
Czuprynski, who has been the full-time Sustainability Coordinator for the Prescott Community Composting Program for nearly two years said that on Sundays, they hold “volunteer work parties” as they enjoy coffee, sourdough bread, and other goodies. They dump fresh scraps from buckets and totes and build a new compost pile. This standing Sunday work has prompted volunteers and staff to refer to the day as “Compost Church.” The composting crew also “turns or oxygenates” manure piles, sifts the finished compost and hand-washes all the buckets.
The Prescott Community Compost also sells finished compost by the cubic foot to help sustain the program. Buyers are generally local citizens who grow food gardens in the backs of their homes.