Robert Michitsch

Robert Michitsch

Robert Michitsch

Speaker | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Stevens Point, WI | (715) 346-4190 | rmichits@uwsp.edu

USCC Member

Rob Michitsch was born raised in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. He attended the University of Guelph, Ontario, attaining his BSc in Environmental Sciences while actively participating in athletic, coaching and extra-curricular academic pursuits. Deciding to concentrate on waste management issues, Rob remained at the University of Guelph to attain his MSc in Soil Science and Waste Management, successfully re-using a wastewater by-product as a plant nutritive supplement in field, pot and hydroponic applications. The wastewater was produced through the anaerobic digestion of municipal organic waste.

Following his experiences in Guelph, Rob accepted a Research Associate position with the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture, working on several climate change and waste management projects. One such project was to actively biopile (ie compost) slaughterhouse-residual materials at commercial slaughterhouse facilities in Nova Scotia. Observing the need for further research due to pending disposal regulations for specified risk materials, Mr. Michitsch began his doctoral studies andresearch at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in this area.

Since Fall 2009, Dr. Michitsch has held an Assistant/Associate Professor position at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the Soil & Waste Resources Discipline, which is in the College of Natural Resources. He teaches classes in the areas of soil science and waste management, focusing on soil and plant analysis, biogeochemistry, composting and solid waste management topics. His research interests include the compostability of plastics and polymers, compost microbiology, compost teas, the breakdown of fluoropolymers, and waste re-use.

Dr. Michitsch has been a member of the USCC Board of Directors for the past 4 years, and is currently a Trustee with the Composting Council Research & Education Foundation. He is currently working with the City of Stevens Point to establish a municipal composting program. In July 2017 and 2018, he was a lead instructor at the Midwest Compost School.

Presentation Title: Soil Regeneration through Compost Education

co-authors: Becca Franzen / Pason Murray / Diana Rivera / Susan Schuller

Session: Creative Engagement with Stakeholders for Long-term Success

Time: Tuesday, January 29, 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Presentation Summary: Detroit Dirt and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) have teamed up to transform Michigan and Wisconsin schools into centers of enhanced learning, utilizing evidence based education via the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Detroit Dirt curriculum. The project focus is to (a) support students, educators, parents, administrators and support staff with accessible STEM curriculum; (b) develop, build and distribute STEM-based creative learning kits; (c) provide online lesson resources; and (d) offer teacher professional development workshops and online seminars to make Michigan and Wisconsin the most proficient states in STEM education related to composting, food waste diversion and soil health. An online platform process may be used with software that offers specific, measurable skills, as well as to support students in learning communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. It will make schools more engaging, and build future-ready competencies and skills. Lessons will be designed to educate students of the importance of compost and its direct impact on agriculture, food production, soil biology, carbon sequestration and more. Teaching a zero-landfill culture in schools and communities is a goal. The objective is to make this curriculum so compelling that it will reach beyond a classroom and have everyone in the schools (and home) learn the value of food, food waste, agriculture, and the practices that will keep students and staff interested in this project and consider its value beyond the classroom. Detroit Dirt in collaboration with UWSP, brings environmental leadership with a real-world curriculum to a K-12 audience and beyond.