Every weekday morning at 8 A-M, Bobcat Blend volunteers begin their day with a compost patrol around campus. Starting their collection by gathering brush near the Agricultural building, volunteers Chris Colón and Maggie Bernet ready the Bobcat Blend trunk. Texas State Senior, Maggie, explains that these materials are needed in order to create a healthy compost pile.
“When you make a pile, you have so many “browns and greens.” Browns and greens is what we call them. Greens is like leaves or dirt or plants, and then the food is like brown matter. So you want so many carbons and so many nitrogens in your pile.”
Texas State University’s composting organization, Bobcat Blend, diverts organic material off of campus to create compost products for horticultural and agricultural reuse. Volunteers like Chris and Maggie roundup all the leftover foods from campus cafeterias such as Commons and Harris. They work together to weigh and dump bucket after bucket after bucket into the back of their truck.
After amassing an estimated amount of eight-hundred and fifteen pounds of food waste, the duo heads to the compost site to sort the goods. Grabbing their shovels and pitchforks from the site’s shed, Chris and Maggie, now along with Blend’s Graduate Student Manager, Kevin Walsh, make their way to pile the collected compost. Kevin explains the process of what Bobcat Blend does.
“My passions are in horticultural and in soil ecology, [and] this is what we’re about here. We are making organic matter to put back into the soil to feed our plants rather than putting chemicals and mined nutrients into the soil.”
The compost site is lined with mini-hills of recyclable material. Compost piles are cared for and rotated until they’re ready for reuse around campus and the community. Before they begin, Kevin instructs the team on what to do.
“We wanna start a new pile here, and we’re not gonna add anymore to this pile. That stuff is way too full. We actually need to add some more browns into it if anything.”
Bobcat Blend aims to educate the community on the values of composting and how to support the composting efforts on their own, whether at home or in their everyday lives as they eat and toss out waste. Bobcat Blend believes that Texas State benefits from the organization because it “keeps food out of the landfills.” Volunteers are able go out and relay compost information to the community through various efforts because of how they were trained and taught. Texas State Junior, Chris, describes why he decided to join Bobcat Blend.
“I like to work outside, we work hard. We’re working towards something through a sustainable effort that you can put passion towards it. It’s not just mindless work. We’re doing something that can hopefully change the world one day if everyone did it.”
The compost pile is mixed with the day’s food collection and brush. The perfect combination of browns and greens. Maggie explains why she works with Bobcat Blend.
“One of the things I hate most is waste, and I think we can throw a lot of things away that don’t need to be thrown away, and food is something that can easily be turned into soil.”
A good day means a good compost pile. With hallway bins, booths at quad days, festivals, and the farmers’ market, the organization offers numerous ways to help recycle. They are also always welcoming to those wanting to learn about their efforts. Bobcat Blend, the unsung compost heroes of campus.