There is a general consensus among modern scientists that there has been life on Earth for at least 3.5 billion years. In all that time there has been one constant: that the basic element necessary for all known life forms is carbon.

On Saturday 30th March a group of excited community members met to learn about carbon and the important role it plays as the starting point and the end point to all that makes life for us possible!

We met at C-Wise in Nambeelup, which is between Pinjarra and Mandurah. The group included people of all ages from throughout the Peel region community.

C-Wise is a Western Australian owned company whose primary business is recycling organic carbon. Their passion is providing smart, natural solutions to farms, communities and industry that allows them to make organic carbon an integral part of their operations.

This is done through the production of a range of different composts and mulches that are used in many different of applications throughout Peel and beyond.

Exploring the hidden world of soil microbiology 

To help explain this all we were also joined by a team of soil microbiology experts from EarthWhile Australia: a new social enterprise start-up passionate about healthy soil, healthy food and healthy people. 

After a welcome from Peel Bright Minds, in the first part of the tour we received a presentation on the carbon cycle where we learned about the importance of bacteria, protozoa, fungi, nematodes, bugs, birds and worms all in the quest to fuel the growth of plants.

We were then able to hop onto a few different microscopes and look at samples of different C-Wise composts to identify what we could see. It was great to see people from the ages of 7 to 70 delving into the lenses of the stereoscopes and microscopes to view the world at a microscopic level.

Engineering a quality compost product

Some delicious morning tea snacks provided by the wonderful people at Jarra Infusion in Pinjarra served as a little break before we moved outside to where the magic happens. We walked out into the expansive yard where we were shown the array of different compost and mulch piles while they explained all that’s needed to ensure a quality product. This includes monitoring and maintaining temperature, moisture and regular rotation and movement.

C-Wise operate to a high level of quality control and have designed quality management systems to ensure high quality, consistent, reliable and safe products are produced. They explained the challenges and the rewards that the business, and their roles in it, provide them. It was amazing to learn just how many products C-Wise are able to accept and use to make their range of composts.

Inspiring career pathways

Finally, we heard from a panel made up of Andy Gulliver (Chair, C-Wise), John Barton (Charton & Bang) and Tim Casey (Engineer, C-Wise). They all shared their passion for curiosity and lifelong learning and how these traits have not only helped them into the careers they have forged for themselves, but have made sure that they enjoy the journey.

A team effort

Overall, it was a great day and everyone who attended learned something new and was inspired by the work of our local industry champions. 

Thanks to the team of volunteers from Peel Bright Minds, to C-Wise, EarthWhile Australia and John from Charton & Bang who donated a day of their time on the weekend to make this all possible.

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References and some further reading to indulge your curiosity: