Recap: Volunteering with Earth Matter

By Sofia Casas, Student Volunteer and Advocacy Projects Coordinator (NYC)

On November 6th and November 13th, volunteers with CCAR and students from the Environmental Justice and Social Change Learning Community went out to Governors Island to volunteer with Earth Matter NY. Earth Matter seeks to reduce the organic waste misdirected into the garbage stream by encouraging neighbor participation and leadership in composting.

11229894_10154294417095606_2161058752201204197_n   12227595_10154313630435606_6777663311025950617_n

A total of 17 Pace students, faculty, and staff got down and dirty with composting, animal care, and carpentry. The Earth Matter volunteers and staff taught Pace how to compost effectively and the different types of composting that goes on the island including more than 40 tons of food scraps that come from New York City. Students were able to clean out a chicken coop and lay down fresh feed for more than 30 chickens. Afterward, they got to go on an egg hunt! They collected more than a dozen organic eggs that were later raffled off.


Earth Matter also has a community farm that has organic vegetables, herbs, and flowers that were used to make a salad for everyone to share at lunch. Students learned how to harvest different veggies and clean out beds so that different things can be planted depending on the season. Another team built a “cocoon room” out of an old cargo container that has been re-purposed several times already. Using an array of tools and with the help of experienced Earth Matter staff, the location now has a warm place for volunteers to work during the winter months.


The trip was educational, fun, and also surprisingly delicious! There will definitely be more opportunities to volunteer with Pace, but you can also find out how to volunteer on your own at You can also volunteer with the Governors Island Alliance, a non-profit organization devoted to celebrating the Island’s rich history, creating memorable parks and public spaces, and working with organizations like Earth Matter to bring enthusiastic volunteers on board to help out. Learn more about Governors Island Alliance at