Storyteller Will Hornyak brings the compost message alive in your school

For almost 15 years, award winning storyteller Will Hornyak has shared his environmental stories with students all over Clark County. This is a free service to schools funded by Clark County Green Schools. His specialty is delivering his waste reduction message to elementary aged students. Read more about Will and how you can bring him to your school!

I am always encouraged by the continued growth in understanding and commitment of students in the care for our planet by caring for the areas close to home in our schools and neighborhoods. I look forward to visiting your school.

Will Hornyak

Will shared a bit more with Clark County Green Schools about his storytelling experience in Clark County schools.

CCGS: ​How does storytelling reach students in a different way?

Will Hornyak: Since I first started sharing stories with Clark County students about watersheds, composting and recycling in 2004, I've found that storytelling is a great way to educate students and entertain them at the same time. When we're enthusiastically engaged in a story, we're absorbing information effortlessly. Learning is hard work, but it should also be a profoundly pleasurable experience. We tend to remember facts better when they're woven into a story because storytelling is a "co-creative activity." That means that the imagination of the audience and the storyteller are creating the experience together. Cognitive research shows that our brains are not designed to memorize a list of facts, but they are "hard-wired" to recall a story. I'm always delighted to return to a school and hear some of the students re-telling parts of a story they heard two or even three years ago. 

CCGS:  What stories to do you share in assemblies and why?

Will Hornyak:​ The stories I share in the Green School assemblies combine traditional folktales, myths and tall tales — like the Fish that Walked! — with lively participation stories that engage the students as actors on stage. The stories are filled with facts and suggestions for effective composting, recycling and watershed stewardship, but those facts are communicated through memorable characters and plots. I love to see how students interpret the various characters in the stories, and I'm always inspired by their creativity and enthusiasm.​ I feel very fortunate to work with the Clark County Green Schools program and to visit so many different schools.

CCGS:​ What can schools expect from an assembly?

Will Hornyak: This assembly is perfect for an elementary aged audience. I will generally perform two assemblies, one for K-2 and one for 3-5. This helps tailor the content to the right age groups. I'll schedule the assembly via email and show up with all the props I need, including my sound system. You just provide the audience.

Clark County Green Schools has a limited number of assemblies we can provide for schools. To be considered, please contact Michelle Picinich at 564-397-7338 or email Michelle.Picinich@clark.wa.gov

We like to send Will to schools who may need a little assistance in their waste sorting in the cafeteria. Will's message, combined with some classroom support, can really help get a new food waste sorting program started or give a struggling program a boost.

This is just one of many ways we can support waste reduction in your schools. Click here for more of our educational offerings.

Green Apple Award nominations open
Welcome the new AmeriCorps member to our Green Sch...