FARMINGTON -- Students dumping their lunch trays at Eagle Bay Elementary School don't think twice when a couple of gloved fifth-graders grab the leftover orange or banana peels, bread, apple cores or uneaten carrots.
Even the fifth-graders from Laura Brewer's class don't think it's too gross, because they're doing it in hopes of winning a trip to Disney World.
It's all part of a project for Disney's Planet Challenge program.
The program encourages kids to be good stewards of the environment while making a difference in their schools, homes and communities.
Several months ago, the students in Brewer's class decided to collect leftover food, turn it into compost, and then sell the compost to local farmers and nurseries.
The program fits right into the science core curriculum, where they learn about changes in matter and begin thinking about the environment.
"As we talked about it, my kids wanted to do something bigger," Brewer said. "I wanted to do something positive for our environment and to make a real-life connection between our science and what they could do at home."
Brewer tracked down a composter at cost from Tri City Nursery. The kids then began bringing in leftover food scraps, such as egg shells, lettuce and fruits and vegetables, from home to add to the leftover food from school lunches.
After working on the project for several months, the 12-foot composter is one-third full. Even though they are turning in their project results to Disney this month, the class plans to continue collecting and composting food until the end of the school year.
"I can't stop it because my kids love it and are too excited," said Brewer.
The students have already decided that if they don't win the grand prize of a trip to Disney World, they can earn enough extra money from selling the compost to plan their own trip to Disney World.
Their teacher is a little more realistic and has encouraged them to think about some field trips or books they could get instead with the extra money.
Trip aside, the students are grateful they can make a difference in their community.
"We want to make the world a better place to live in," said fifth-grader Brenton Anderson. "We knew it would be gross, but not a lot of people compost, so we decided we should do it."
He was surprised at how much food he and his classmates have been able to bring from home. As a result of their efforts, fifth-grader Parker Hyatt is looking forward to helping other people.
"Now people can have better soil for their gardens, and we have a better planet because the garbage trucks haven't had to keep coming to pick up the extra garbage," said Hyatt.
This is the first time Brewer has participated in the program, though she plans to continue participating in future years, especially given how well her class has responded.
"Our project is pretty small compared to some of the other fancy projects, but I still think it's important, because we're saving food waste, and that's the real reason," said Brewer. "Maybe someday we'll get there, after we get a little more experience, but for now, we wanted a more practical approach to our science core."