Students at this international school in Singapore are getting out of the classroom and getting their hands dirty. And not just with anyone! They’ve even enjoyed a tree-planting session with Dr Jane Goodall.
Biodiversity and ecology are hot topics right now, particularly among young people. The students at Stamford American International School are taking classroom theory and applying it to real life with some exciting tree-planting initiatives, such as the Rare Tree Forest.
The number of students showing an interest in these projects continues to grow. And the opportunity for involvement is gaining traction throughout the school community too. Here, we take a look at two examples of eco-driven learning that Stamford students are embracing – one outside the school and one on campus.
Meeting Dr Jane Goodall
Students in Stamford’s Grade 9 Field Studies had already been learning about re-forestation through their Field Studies programme in Chiang Mai. Then the opportunity to engage other students was presented with Dr Jane Goodall’s visit to Singapore. Through its Roots & Shoots club, Stamford was lucky enough to bring 14 students from Grades 5 to 10 to plant trees with the world-renowned conservationist. After the planting session with Dr Goodall, they visited Elango Velautham, head of the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ Plant Resource Centre. He showed the students how to develop their project back at school.
Since then, a group of students has visited the nursery to learn more from Mr Velautham about how to apply the principles of ecology in a practical way outside the classroom. Stamford plans to keep bringing students to the Gardens on a regular basis; they’ll continue to learn about the nursery with a view to applying their skills to make a similar impact in the Rare Tree Forest they’re growing at school.
In their own backyard
The Stamford Garden Club has been showing initiative by taking over the watering and caretaking of the Rare Tree Forest; they also maintain the nursery area. They’re working as a team to keep the forest and nursery fit for use by the school’s science classes. Currently, the focus is on soil mixing, measuring the pH of the soil, and seed and plant growth. These combined projects help students form an understanding of ecological literacy and our everyday impact on the world.
The school is encouraged by the way the students have been interacting and cooperating on the project; not to mention their engagement in real-life learning experiences. And the momentum is growing throughout the school. For example, Stamford’s Interact Club, made up of students from Grades 9 to 12, is eager to get involved. They’ll take part in project managing, communications and fundraising. This will not only keep the garden flourishing, but also support the next phases of development involving students from Elementary to High School.
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