MASTER COMPOSTER COURSE

ORG CURRICULUM FOR MASTER COMPOSTER CERTIFICATION

Presented by: Organics Recycling Group (ORG)and sponsored by Recycling Organics International, Inc. (ROI).
All course instruction will be presented by an ORG Master Composter and/or ROI-recognized composting expert.

There are less intensive and extensive courses which are usually prerequisite to this Master Composter Course which you can view at: http://www.thesoilguy.com/SG/ComposterCourses.

This MC course is usually taught over a period of ten (10) weeks and in some cases longer depending on student consensus and weather. Most classes are held on a weekend but some weekday evening makeup classes may be scheduled.

This MC course consists of 20 hours of classroom-style instruction in a 'open forum/discussion' format along with an estimated 20 hours of hands-on activities as a group, that qualify as "volunteer hours" conducted at a variety of pre-designated locations plus an estimated 20 hours of online research/study, to complete ‘at-home’ study/practice assignments.

The total time on task studying/discussing course material and all related activities is estimated at 60 hours. Some students may require more or less time, depending on their personal reading and pre-existing composting skill levels.

In addition, course students are encouraged to participate in 'elective' pre-arranged Host Visits during which students are introduced to qualified composters in the local area to see how they compost and learn some of their techniques and advice. Host Visits may also include touring private and commercial opportunities to acquire feedstock material, including tour/inspection of county/municipal landfill collection/separation/transport activities.

This MC course is based upon the extensive experience of, and materials authored by ROI Founder and Senior Master Composter Instructor Robert Moore, as well as works by many other sources, including many institutions of higher learning.

This course is updated as needed, by ‘staying in touch’ with a diverse set of research projects in the United States and other countries. This ROI/ORG Master Composter course is on the ‘cutting edge’ of composting technology including the microscopic level and is designed for serious composters and those who desire to become compost course Instructors.

To become a certified ORG Master Composter, students must complete all 8 open-book assignments; successfully complete two open-book exams, and perform hands-on composting activities arranged with and monitored by an ORG Mentor or other approved ORG representative.

"Volunteer Time" usually required by other courses following graduation, is conducted DURING this course in group format instead of at individual discretion.

NO additional participation in community activities to promote the practice of composting are necesary to certification, but students/graduates can expect invitations to participate in community education projects. Possible exceptions to this policy may exist for AgriLife Master Gardeners if and when composting becomes an AgriLife MG Specialty.

volunteer hour credits will be earned by students in a variety of activities during the course, such as: helping make compost at an approved Composting Demonstration Facility; assisting with community compost presentations and demonstrations; assisting to improve the private or commercial composting facilities, including those of ORG members (but not your own facility); or assisting at a public composting demonstration/seminar/clinic. Once enrolled in a ROI composting Course, students will be informed how recording of Volunteer Hour Credits (VHC) can be earned and recorded - which also may qualify students to receive discounts on ROI composting/gardening products.

Note: The Texas Master Gardener Association does NOT permit duplicate recording of any hours recorded for MG or CE credit, by any other agency or organization. Therefore, Texas Master Gardeners or Interns who are also ORG members, may NOT also claim any MG/CE credit for time participating in any ORG activity in which student hours are recorded for course credit.

Two open-book written examinations are required for this MC course. There is no time limit to complete the ‘take-home’ Mid-Course exam but it must be returned to the ORG Course Instructor and graded, prior to being eligible to take the course Final Exam.

The Final exam is also open-book and must be submitted and passed, before students will be considered for graduation. Students must achieve a passing grade of 70% or higher on both exams. Both exams consist of 25 true-false, 25 multiple-choice and 25 fill-in-the-blank questions. Re-testing is permitted if a passing grade is not achieved, or an exam is missed during the course, based on the recommendation of the student’s ORG Mentor or Instructor.

Back to Top

Students receive training to develop a composting skill set, capable of:

  • Designing, constructing and operating a variety of personal ‘backyard’ composting operations
  • Advising and demonstrating a wide range of composting methods and techniques to others
  • Recognizing effects of microbiolgical decomposition for a variety of decomposition stages and deficiencies thereof
  • Estimating field C:N feedstock ratios for a wide range of feedstocks

Course pre-registration is required for all students, with pre-payment of the course fee. Fee includes course texts, materials and participation in course activities, as well as membership in Oganics Recycling Group. An active email address is REQUIRED for course registration and to maintain ORG membership.

At first log-in on the ORG website, persons utilizing online registration must select a User Name and new password. Do not forget your password. It CANNOT be retrieved.

Printed course materials in a 3-ring binder may also be purchased separately. Printed materials are provided to ORG Mentors and Instructors, since online material may not be practically accessible when ‘in the field’.

Course enrollment is limited to a maximum of 20 students per course, and a minimum of 5 persons are needed to initiate an ORG Master Composter in-person certification course.

In-person students will be dismissed from the course and forefit all registration fees, if more than 4 of the 20-hour instruction are missed, and not made up within 30 DAYS following the course graduation date.

If less than 5 students remain actively enrolled in any ORG course (but that's not likely to happen), ORG may discontinue the course as a group activity, and schedule private continuation of the course with each student individually.

Group course sessions are normally two hours in length for weekday evening or weekend classroom sessions, and two sessions may be combined (double sessions) for every-other Saturday sessions. The actual duration of the course over multiple weeks may vary, based on the schedule of available Master Composter Instructors. When multiple same-session classes are provided in any week period, students may attend whichever session date best fits their personal schedule.

With the exception of the initial session and last session, in-person students are expected to study the course material (to be covered during the next session), and be prepared to discuss those topics, along with any related information and experiences that students would like to present for discussion.

Hands-on demonstration activities for in-person students are normally scheduled at the conclusion of the last session(s) each Saturday (weather permitting), and attendance at such activities is recommended for all course students. Demonstration activities are considered to be 8 hours of the estimated 36 hours of time ‘on task’ spent in coursework and related activities. Online students are required to document demonstration activities with digital photographs. Photos submitted for coursework, become the property of ROI.

The actual amount of hands-on demonstration time needed by a student is established and recorded by the student’s Mentor or Instuctor. Some students of this course will already be considered by ROI to be highly skilled in physical composting activities, and may not need to attend all activities.

Also, individual hands-on demonstration activities may be arranged by a student’s Mentor or Instructor with any ORG member who is (or is in training to become) a certified Composter or Master Composter Instructor.

Each in-person course session (class) location will be announced in advance. Class locations are usually rotated among local community sites, including private residences of ORG Master Composter graduates and students, with Host Visits following, to view the composting operation maintained by that resident, or to tour a facility related to composting.

Make-Up sessions may be arranged by Mentors and/or Instructors for in-person students who provide 12+ hour prior notice of scheduled absence from a class. Make-Up session dates/times/locations will be held at the discretion of the ORG Senior Instructor.

Back to Top

The following Curriculum Guideline may be modified at any time without prior notice. However, if modified during a course, students will be informed of any changes.

ORG CURRICULUM FOR MASTER COMPOSTER CERTIFICATION

  • Topic times represent ONLY class discussion of the topics – previously studied as homework

SESSION #1:

  Begin		Topic 1-a~e – Welcome - Introductions to the
                       		 course and the Instructors
  0:15  	Topic 2-a – Mentor System and ‘Buddy’ System
			(building a support ‘network’)
  0:25		Topic 3-a~d– Global Environmental Issues
			(Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles)
  0:35		Topic 4a~d – U.S. Environmental Issues
			(Quality of: Soil – Water – Plants)
  1:00         	10-minute Break
  1:10		Topic 5a~d – (Composting at the) State, County,
			Municipal and ‘Backyard’ levels
  1:40		Topic 6a~b – Organics Recycling Group – A
			Successful Network (“compost spoken here”)
  1:55		Reading/Research Assignment: Study all SESSION 2 material
  2:00		Adjourn – Host Visit following class is an optional 
			activity, but highly recommended 

SESSION #2:

  Begin       	Topic 2-b – Mentor and Buddy selection
  0:10         	Topic 7 – Materials-Energy-Time ~ Expectations 
			versus Results (5-min. for survey)
  0:25         	Topic 8 – Compost what?  Methods and Techniques 
			are personal decisions
  0:35         	Topic 9 – Estimating need – top dressing beds/rows;
			amending soil, building turf
  1:00         	10-minute Break
  1:10         	Topic 10 – Feedstock – estimating C:N ratio, 
			shredding/chopping/mixing/soaking
  1:45         	Topic 2-c - Mentor and ‘Buddy’ Assignment (Form 2c)
  1:45		Reading/Research Assignment: Study all SESSION 3 material
  2:00         	Adjourn – Host Visit following class is an optional 
			activity, but highly recommended

SESSION #3:

  Begin		Topic 11 – Composting Fundamentals 
			(microbes do the actual work) 
  0:20		Topic 12 – CA versus Batch – pile, sheet/lasagna, 
			pit/trench - difference/advantage
  0:30		Topic 13 – Compost structures – kinds, types and 
			IS one needed at all?  CC&R’s
  0:50		Topic 14 – Particle size – pore space (porosity) is key - 
			layering vs pre-mixing/soaking
  1:00		10-minute Break 
  1:10		Topic 15 –  Biomass density - the why and how 
			compost gets & stays hot, how long
  1:20		Topic 16 – Temperature, CO2 , air/water, 
			chlorine removal, rain covers
  1:55		Reading/Research Assignment: Study all SESSION 4 material
  2:00		Adjourn – Host Visit following class is an optional 
			activity, but highly recommended 

SESSION #4:

  Begin		Topic 17 – Tools, equipment, time-saving devices 
			and helpful gadgets
  0:15		Topic 18-a – Additives, inoculants, stimulants, 
			solutions to common issues
  0:20		Topic 18-b – Mycorrhizal (“Rascal to Remedy: 
			Fungus on the Farm") article
  0:25		Topic 19 – Compost ‘tea’, what it is, testing and 
			quality standards, storage
  0:35		Topic 20 – Use of compost and ‘tea’, 
			stability/maturity/storage issues
  0:45		Topic 21 – Turning, screening and sifting, when 
			and what you should see/feel/smell
  1:00		10-minute Break
  1:10		Topic 22 – Microbes (bacteria, actinomycetes and fungi) 
			what, why, when & how
  1:55		Reading/Research Assignment: Study all SESSION 5 material
  2:00		Adjourn – Host Visit following class is an optional 
			activity, but highly recommended

Back to Top

SESSION #5:

  Begin		Topic 23 – Stockpiling (green & brown) feedstocks – 
			get a headstart
  0:15		Topic 24 – Relationships of nitrogen, carbon, protein, 
			sugar, starch, cellulose, lignin
  0:30		Topic 25 –  Wind, Ambient air temperature (insulation, 
			isotherms, CO2 build-up, O2 depletion)
  0:45		Topic 26 – Measuring (nutrition, pH, heat, H2O, CO2, 
			O2, humics) - when, where, why and how)
  1:00         	10-minute Break
  1:10         	Topic 27 – Gardening with compost and ‘tea’ 
			(veggies, herbs, flowers, shrubs, trees)
  1:55         	Reading/Research Assignment: Study all SESSION 6 material 
			+ Mid-Term Exam
  2:00         	Adjourn – Host Visit following class is an optional 
			activity, but highly recommended

SESSION #6:

  Begin		Topic 28 – Turn in & review Mid-Term Written Exam 
			(grades published at next class)
  0:15		Topic 29 – Nutrition (N,P,K,+Micro) from compost 
			takes time (slow-release - how)
  0:30		Topic 30 – The unknown science of humic substances
  0:50		Topic 31 – Recording methods and importance 
			of precise, complete record-keeping
  1:00		10-minute Break
  1:10		Topic 32 – Amending soils & mulching with 
			compost – double-digging vs tilling/mixing
  1:55		 Reading/Research Assignment: Study all SESSION 7 material
  2:00		Adjourn – Host Visit following class is an optional 
			activity, but highly recommended

SESSION #7:

  Begin		Topic 33 – Mid-Term Exam returned to students 
			with grade (25 T/F + 25 MC)
  0:05		Topic 34 – Physical decomposers bite, grind, 
			suck, tear and chew
  0:30		Topic 35 – Pile pests (fire ants, grubs, roaches, 
			flies, etc. – what to do, when & how
  0:45		Topic 36 – Microbes are the best plant defense 
			against diseases & pests
  1:00		10-minute Break
  1:10 		Topic 37 – Finished Compost(mature-stable)  
			Aged, Cured ~ Storage of  Humus
  1:55		Reading/Research Assignment: Study all SESSION 8 material
  2:00		Adjourn – Host Visit following class is an optional 
			activity, but highly recommended

SESSION #8:

  Begin		Topic 38 - Grass clipping thatch versus 
			composting the clippings
  0:10		Topic 39 – Making planting soils and potting media 
			with compost
  0:30		Topic 40 – Lawn (turf) issues – screening/raking-in 
			compost with tea is a ‘cure-all’
  0:45		Topic 41 – Plant diseases and pests to watch for – 
			don’t kill the good ones too
  1:00		10-minute Break
  1:10		Topic 42 – Gardening with compost – 
			vegetables and ornamental shrubs/trees
  1:55		Reading/Research Assignment: Study all SESSION 9 material
  2:00		Adjourn – Host Visit following class is an optional 
			activity, but highly recommended

SESSION #9:

  Begin		Topic 43 – Making/using potting media with 
			cured compost
  0:15		Topic 44 – Worm composting (vermicomposting)
  0:35		Topic 45 – Rainwater Harvesting; drip irrigation
  0:45		Topic 46 – How to be a “good neighbor”, 
			feedstock collection/storage/sharing
  1:00		10-minute Break
  1:10		Topic 47 – The rest of the composting story – 
			is still being written – by you
  1:55		Reading/Research Assignment: Study all SESSION 10 material
  2:00		Adjourn – Host Visit following class is an optional 
			activity, but highly recommended

SESSION #10:

  Begin		Topic 48 – Commercial opportunities for 
			medium-scale composters
  0:05		Topic 49 – Composting Resources and comments 
			about online forums
  0:10		Topic 50 – Other courses, classes, seminars, clinics, 
			demonstrations & presentations
  0:15		Topic 51 – Make-up classes – eligibility and 
			proposed schedule
  0:20		Topic 52 – Volunteer Project Activities/Recording; 
			community involvement
  0:30		Topic 53 – Course Evaluation
  0:45		10-minute Break
  1:00		Topic #54 – Final Written Examination – 
			during session – ‘open book’
  2:00 		Adjourn – End-of-course ‘celebration’ for in-person graduates  

The Final Exam will be graded and announced during the ‘celebration’AWARD Presentation that begins immediately following the first student's completion of the exam.

© Robert C. Moore ~ All Rights Reserved

Back to Top

COMPOST CONTAINMENTS
Click Here to see: Compost Containments
COMPOST PILES
Click Here to see:COMPOST PILES