Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Waste Less Week 2017

In Week 15 of last term (27 Nov - 3 Dec), we celebrated Sodexo's Waste Less Week. This is an annual event that takes place worldwide to get us all thinking about how we can help our environment by wasting less. 

In the Primary School, the Eco Rangers group led the way, focusing on several key areas and ways to waste less: water, plastic, electricity, fuel, paper and food. Here's the link to the introductory video they made:

Throughout the week, students were encouraged to make photo pledges, stating what they were going to waste less. In total, a fabulous 310 pledges were made - you can see some of the photos below. 

In conjunction with Waste Less Week, we also had a collection for the Singapore Food Bank. Donations came pouring into the Primary School Office and our Eco Rangers had the proud job of handing over 3 whole boxes of food donations. Sodexo kindly topped up our contribution, donating one cup of rice for every photo pledge that was made. That's a lot of rice! 

The Eco Rangers present our Primary School donations to the Singapore Food Bank

Waste Less Week was a big success and it was wonderful to see everyone in the community thinking of ways that they can cut down and waste less. Let's keep it going! 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Discovering in K1 - Apollo the Scientist

by Rekha Jensen

Today Apollo was a scientist. He started conducting a seed experiment at home and wanted to continue it at school. This afternoon a small group of interested fellow scientists listened as Apollo presented his experiment. After showing his peers what he had done Rosie remarked, “We need to make a hole so they can breathe. If you don’t make a hole they can’t breathe.” To this Apollo replied that he wanted to plant his seeds because, “…plants are pretty smart, so they know when they’re in the soil so they don’t sprout.” Alice explained to Apollo she too had been conducting her own seed growing experiment. She said her experiment had required her to place her seeds (in gel) in a dark place, which she was sceptical about and said to him it didn’t work out well. Apollo agreed and suggested that next time she use a green house. Apollo then exclaimed, “ We have to put them in a sunny greenhouse!”

The group went to our recycling area in search of a greenhouse. It was evident there was a misconception about what a greenhouse was, because the children chose a green box to make into a greenhouse. Mrs Jensen then showed the children photos of real greenhouses around the world. The commonality Alice noticed was the glass (transparency) of a greenhouse.

Apollo suggested the group cut the sides of the box. Gursehaj wanted to fix glass in the sides. As a group the children went in search of glass in the recycling area and found…a clear plastic box. However, they still had a problem…they couldn’t find a lid they like. All the children mentioned they needed space so the plants would could without knocking on to a lid. Mark came to the rescue when he provided the group with a clear plastic box, which Apollo agreed provided a good space to grow.

Apollo and Alice secured the lid, while Gursehaj, Rosie and Mark searched for soil.

The seeds had an “odor” according to Apollo, but that didn’t stop our scientists from planting the seeds. 

Gursehaj, Mark and Rosie took turns to add the soil when Rosie suddenly became very excited, “Yay, the worm will make it grow with pee and poo!” They had found a worm in their soil and were now confident their seeds would continue to thrive. Alice noted that when placing the seeds in soil to place them away from each other…” We need to keep them separated otherwise they would grow too big.” Mark then provided water for the seeds. The scientists then placed the ‘greenhouse’ on the window sill for the sun to help the seeds grow. I wonder what will grow!

Pint Sized Environmental Stewards - they're back!

Ms. Putt's Grade 1 class, along with Ms. Kutschenreuter's Grade 5 class showed their commitment to care for their campus and picked up litter this week.

Many students were surprised by how much was collected. Max from 5NKu said, "At first, when we went out there, we didn't really notice much rubbish. But as we had a closer look, we managed to find a lot. We ended up with four boxes worth."

Some unusual discoveries included rotting flip flops, a coffee mug, and lots of plastic.

Ms. Putt's class in particular is always on the look out for litter on campus and they do a fantastic job tidying up litter that they find.


Thursday, 11 May 2017

UWC Dover Food Waste into Energy

We have recently begun an innovative pilot project with Singapore's National Environment Agency to collect food waste on Dover Campus.
Instead of being sent for incineration and landfill the waste is taken for Biodigestion and conversion to Biogas Energy at an experimental plant at Tuas.
Contamination of the bins by other recyclables, wrappings etc puts the project at serious risk as the Biodigester will malfunction.

Please help us by disposing of any food scraps from your lunch in the red bins shown in the video.

And remember to put your yakult containers, juice and milo boxes, P.E.T plastic bottles in the light blue recycling bins.
If we are successful, this pilot project may be rolled out across Singapore...so many thanks for helping us make UWCSEA a leader in Sustainable Development.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Say No to Rhino Horn!

by Angela Turner, Grade 1 Head of Grade

Today Jennifer Fox taught the Grade 1 students a lot about rhinos, their role in their 
habitat, threats to their species and what can be done to protect them. If you would
 like to know more, please attend Jennifer's presentation advertised in recent 
eBriefs and below.

We are ambassadors for rhinos and elephants!

Rhino Revolution - How to save the rhino from extinction

Wednesday, 17 May, 3.30pm, Multi Purpose Hall

Below is an extract from a poster from a recent Royal Geographic Society of Hong Kong lecture, given by anti-poaching campaigner Jennifer Fox:

The Royal Geographical Society is pleased to welcome Jennifer Fox to speak on "Rhino Revolution: How to Save the Rhino from Extinction”. In this lecture, well-known banker, safari lodge owner and anti-poaching campaigner Jennifer Fox speaks on the rhinoceros. Following an introduction to why rhinos are special, including their ecology, she talks of the present poaching crisis and how to stop it.

Rhino Revolution: How to Save the Rhino from Extinction

In the talk, she assesses the present situation for the rhino and other major wildlife of 
Africa, including the elephant. She talks of the very real threat from poaching and why 
action is needed immediately. She discusses what is being done about it on the ground 
in Africa plus, equally importantly, what is being done on the ground in Asia. On a 
positive note, she explains how everyone is able to help and what can be done by 
individuals to make a difference to the situation.

Jennifer will be repeating her How to Save the Rhino talk at UWCSEA on 
Wednesday, May 17 at 3.15pm in the Multipurpose Hall. All are welcome. 
Please join us for this important talk.(RSVP HerePoster)

Civet Cat Talk in Grade 1

Civets in Singapore

By Angela Turner, Grade 1 Head of Grade

Towards the end of April Grade 1 students had a visit from the 
Cicada Tree Eco-Place. Vilma taught us about Common Palm Civets
 or 'musang' living in urban Singapore. If you would like to learn 
more, you may like to join the following event 
MAD for Musang! for kids with Cicada Tree Eco-Place, 23 Jun (Fri).

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Grade 5 at Pasir Ris Beach for a Clean Up

At the end of April, all nine Grade 5 classes ventured to Pasir Ris beach for a clean up. This action connects with their current Unit of Study and was a powerful hands-on learning experience for many students. Not only did the students feel proud of their accomplishments, they also realized how much rubbish finds its way to the beach. Throughout the tuning in process for the upcoming Expo, the grade students watched videos that taught them about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, among other current issues in the environment. Only once the students went out to the beach did they make a very real connection with the urgency of keeping our waterways pollution free. After some classes graphed the items they collected, they were most surprised to conclude that styrofoam was among the most prevalent item littering the beach. Collectively, students collected hundreds of small pieces.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Grade 5 Composting with visitors from NUS

Grade 5 students finished their daily compost collection and shared some how to tips with our neighbours from NUS.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

This week, in the garden…

Some of our K1 students have been wondering about creepy crawlies and things that grow. In small groups, the students visited one of our worm farms and they learned about how these special worms break down fruit and vegetable peels and turn it into valuable fertiliser for our school gardens. The worms are Malaysian blue worms and they are used for vermicomposting. Some of the students were very brave and picked up a very wriggly worm and giggled as it tickled their palms. One worm even leapt out of a student’s hand and landed on the ground. Who knew that worms could be so athletic?

The worm farm has a number of layers and the first layer is where we leave the food scraps. The second layer is where the ‘castings’ collect and the third layer is where the ‘worm tea’ collects. The castings and the tea are produced by the worms, after they eat all the fruit and veggie peels that the K2 and Grade 1 students feed them. The castings and tea contain lots of nutrients that our plants need, so we pass these along to the Incredible Edible Garden group to put on the garden beds.

The next stop was to explore the edible gardens to see how eggplants, dill, kafir lime and basil grow. It was great fun to try and guess what all the different plants were. The K1 students were very clever and could identify the banana trees. They saw a banana flower and how it developed into a whole bunch of smaller bananas.

Photos by Rekha Jansen