Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Alexandra Park tree planting

As a slightly belated celebration of International Day of Forests (21 March), a small group of URRP staff and students planted ten trees at the Alexandra Park estate on 25 March. A pair of white-collared kingfishers flashed aquamarine between the existing trees and called out raucously as we worked.

Ms Edwards and Ms Henry
barely breaking a sweat.
All of the trees were raised in our Dover nursery and all but one (Broad-leafed Mahogany) was an indigenous species. The full list comprised:

  • Barringtonia asiatica (Fishkiller)
  • Cynometra cauliflora (Nam Nam)
  • Hopea bracteata (Merawan Ungu)
  • Hopea ferrea (Ceylon Ironwood)
  • Litsea elliptica 
  • Mimusops elengi (Tanjung, Spanish Cherry)
  • Moringa oleifera (Horse-radish tree)
  • Shorea materialis 
  • Sterculia foetida (Hazel Sterculia, Java Olive)
  • Swietenia macrophylla (Broad-leaved Mahogany)

RĂ­ona helped plant five trees.
The Sterculia tree has an interesting etymology: Sterculius was the Roman god of cow dung and "foetida" means stinking! The name refers to the fact that all parts of the tree exude an unpleasant smell while it is flowering.

Mea has planted many trees
in the past 2 years.
A couple of the trees have edible leaves. The young leaves of Litsea elliptica are used as a vegetable side dish or as a flavouring in the spicy Thai sauce, Nam Prik. Meanwhile, Moringa has been hailed as a 'superfood' for its nutritional benefits and multiple culinary uses. The immature green pods are often used in curries. The seeds inside mature pods can be eaten like peas. Even the flowers are edible when cooked. The highly nutritious leaves are cooked and used like spinach. (Walk down Buffalo Road near Little India MRT and you'll see heaps of Moringa leaves on the table outside a vegetable shop.)

Mr Daniels shows the strain of bodybuilding with Moringa.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Neat Nursery

In recent weeks, Andy Tan and his landscaping team, together with Facilities staff and outside contractors, have done an impressive job of reorganising the Dover nursery. Rotting wood and broken pots have been disposed of, replaced by lightweight metal tables with mesh tops and relaid artificial turf. Even our Shade House has had a makeover.

The Rainforest Restoration Project should soon be moving its base to the space near the new Ecology Centre. As we do so, we should dispose of our much-loved but dilapidated cupboards. As ever, we should ensure all our species are labelled and bring our inventory up to date. A next step may be to seek new stock from NParks while also using cuttings to propagate some indigenous species.

COVID-19 has interrupted our meetings with NParks partners, but we are exploring the possibility of being assigned a section of the Rail Corridor for reforestation, from seedling collection, through nursery care, planting and subsequent monitoring of tree growth.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Towards Zero Waste?

Since the discontinuation of disposable cups in August 2018, the number of Tetrapaks purchased had doubled to about 4000 per week. Although about half of the cartons were being recycled, this resulted in a huge increase in waste. The students from Green Campus were also becoming overwhelmed by the volume of cartons for recycling.

                                                              Part of one week's collection of cartons

From August 2019, the sales of Tetrapak drink cartons has been discontinued. This will avoid about 140 000 drink cartons being consumed. Instead, students now purchase a cup and serve themselves from dispensers. This has led to a new problem: lost cups.

Over 1200 cups have been lost since the start of the year. Many are left around campus instead of being brought back to the proper return areas. Most of these are recovered, however it takes considerable effort from the Sodexo staff to do this. Others likely end up in the garbage bins or are in unconventional places around campus. A cup was found at the end of the driveway on Dover road, so perhaps some are taken off of campus.

Sadly, the losses of cups greatly reduces the overall impact of having removed the drink cartons from the canteen. We need to work as a community towards educating all with regard to the need to bring back the cups, realising that the perceived inconvenience of returning the cups is affecting our environmental footprint.

                                                       A disappointing display of unreturned items

Monday, 2 March 2020

Sodexo Project

Since October, LEAF GC has been working with Sodexo to improve the vegetarian and plant-based options available in the canteen. The goal is to reduce the community's overall meat consumption by making the non-meat dishes more appealing.

The ability to participate in feedback surveys was advertised to staff and students through the Notices and Teamie posts. A collection of 108 staff and student email addresses was obtained. Here is the profile of those who are participating:

Members of the community who would still like to join this group can do so by following this link.

Meeting #1

Here is information that we learned from our first meeting

-a new symbol (a leaf) will be used on the electronic screens to indicate plant-based dishes so that they are easier to identify. 

-Plant-based offerings will hopefully also be indicated on the online published menu

-Sodexo has been working to enhance the plant-based offerings. A supplier has recently been providing vegan cheese and quorn nuggets. It is possible that due to supply issues they may not always be available.

-sales at Planted are increasing. From 20 servings a day at the start of the year to over 60 now. Sales at Planted are much higher when the side dish is onion rings or sweet potato fries

-it is difficult for Sodexo to avoid cross contamination in the serving of some dishes. For example, the grill at the Mexican stall is used for all food and so the plant-based servings may come in contact with meat or dairy products. There is a similar issue with the salad mixing bowls.

-Sodexo would appreciate a survey being done to gather information about the proportion of the community that is looking to eat vegetarian/vegan

-pesto is served daily and is vegan and nut-free, made with basil grown on campus

Sunday, 16 February 2020


Students in Grades 3 and 4 have been having a great time turning trash into treasure 

in the new Upcyclers ECA this year! 

The Upcyclers

Using only recycled materials, such as old food cans, atlases and dictionaries, 
they have been busy making useful gifts for the school community:

Making a pencil pot from a food can.
Making handy stationery boxes.
Making classroom display banners.
Making useful notebooks from old atlas paper.


"I like being in Upcyclers because we get to do lots of crafts and reuse things so it's good for the environment." Savya, Grade 3.

It's great to see our students learn to reuse and upcycle waste items, thanks to Mrs Ferreira and Mrs Brogden for organising such an inspirational activity! 


K2 students investigate rubbish in their latest unit.

Students in K2 have been finding out what happens to the rubbish they put in the bin and asking themselves if it really is rubbish. 


In their Unit of Study they have been busy picking up litter and sorting different types of rubbish for recycling. Miss Willis came to speak to the K2 classes and reminded them about the 4 Rs:

Image result for reduce reuse recycle refuse

She explained what happens to our waste in Singapore and talked about how the recycling centres work. 


One student was so motivated that he reorganised his family recycling bags at home! Well done, Freddie! 

It's great to see such responsible attitudes in caring for our environment in some of our youngest students. Keep up the good work! 

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Rainforest Restoration Project film

In 2018/2019, Nicolas Sugandi (UWCSEA Dover, Grade 12 film student) worked with UWCSEA's former Director of Sustainability, Nathan Hunt, to capture the work of the Rainforest Restoration Project in a short film.

As well as sheltering hundreds of often critically endangered tree seedlings, the specialist nurseries on both UWCSEA campuses are helping to nurture the next generation of reforestation scientists and advocates. Our long-term partnership with the National University of Singapore (NUS) and NParks, the Singapore government’s National Parks Board, is providing both excellent opportunities for applied learning for UWCSEA students and exciting chances to contribute to Singapore’s national strategy for biodiversity conservation.

Watch the film below!

Monday, 11 November 2019

Veggie Wednesdays Are Now Weekly

In May and June of 2019, there was a lot of student work done to prepare the community for an increased frequency of Veggie Wednesdays. Increasing the frequency on Dover campus would reduce the consumption of meat by a further 2500kg a year, which is one of the most significant ways in which the impact can be reduced.

More work was carried out early in Term 1, with talks explaining the rationale for Veggie Wednesdays give to assemblies from Grade 2 to Grade 9. The "Climate of Change" theme for UWC Day also significantly raised student awareness and commitment to change. Many students in our community set personal goals of reducing meat consumption.

Starting from November 2019, Veggie Wednesdays will take place weekly. Community members can make menu suggestions to send feedback to LEAF GC at

Work will now turn to encouraging students to opt for plant-based meals on other days of the week, along with work to improve the choices available.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Earth Day activities in the Primary School

Image result for earth day 2019 protect our species



On Monday 22 April, students in the Primary School spent time reflecting on the importance of Earth Day and considering action that they can take to 'protect our species.' 


Students in Grade 1 watched a video and then thought of actions that they can take to help take care of the Earth.



In Grade 2, students reflected on small steps that they are taking to help our planet.



To link with their current Poetry unit in Writing Workshop, Grade 3 students wrote poems about endangered species.




Students in Grade 4 researched endangered species and shared their findings in a voice recording on Seesaw. Please click the link to listen:

Eco Rangers Litter Pick


Working hard to keep our campus clean

Our Junior School Eco Rangers group has started doing regular litter picks along the drive into the campus. Sadly, the grass verge regularly seems to attract all sorts of rubbish so it was time for a tidy up!

The Eco Rangers


Once a month, on Wednesday lunchtimes, the Eco Rangers spend 25 minutes picking up the trash using tongs. It really is amazing what we have found so far!

What we collected in just 25 minutes!

The main rubbish seems to be cigarette butts and plastic wrappers. It could be members of our community dropping these items, or it could be people from outside - the driveway is, after all, a public road. 

Please remember to dispose of your rubbish in the proper bins and be mindful as you go around the campus - let's aim to keep it clean and tidy!