More than 70 international students from Dulwich Minhang, Pudong and Suzhou campuses camped under the stars (yes, real stars!) over the weekend to experience the Dulwich group’s first ever eco-oriented camping event, called the ECO EXPLORER Camp.
Junior and Senior School students enjoyed an immersive experience with nature which included 5 sustainability-focused workshops covering organic farming, worm farming, aquaponics, water chemistry testing and recycled art creations. The students loved being hands-on: digging, weeding, worming, watering and ‘wowing’ their way through nature... many of these experiences were challenging and new for students living the city life in Shanghai and Suzhou without the opportunity to connect with nature frequently.
Three international guest speakers presented at the Eco Explorer Camp. The first speaker was Tracy Read, founder and CEO of Plastic Free Seas, who spoke about her experiences voyaging to one of the “plastic islands” in the Pacific Ocean. Not only did Tracy educate students on how much plastic and waste is found in the seas around China and HK, but she also bought a very practical angle to her plight. Students came away with a clear picture of what they can do as individuals, to ensure less waste ends up in our oceans. Julia Zotter, from the delicious Zotter Chocolate business spoke with students about owning a food business which relies heavily on sustainability and community for its success. Students learned about the value of producing organic chocolate in a sustainable way from growing the cacao bean to wrapping the chocolate bar. The third speaker, Ross Allen from Dulwich College International spoke to students about the effect that pollution has on our environment, particularly here in China. He explained what Dulwich Colleges do to be more sustainable in their operation, and the education that is provided.
During ‘Reflection Time’ at the end of the camp, Dulwich Minhang Year 3 student, Louise said she was “happy for the experience to make a worm farm and learn about the benefits of worms for making healthy soil.” Louise went on to say she was “also grateful to her classmates for helping her to actually hold the worms,” something she had been afraid to do prior to the camp. Another Year 5 student reflected that she had “been a bit scared to camp away from home” but it had been “a really amazing camp” and was no longer daunted by (insects at) an outdoor camping adventure.
The Eco Explorer Camp teachers were delighted with the participation of the students. Dulwich Minhang Headmaster, David Ingram added that he was “very proud of all the Eco Explorer students for stepping out of their city shoes to experience the joys and educational discoveries of connections with nature.”
This is the first Dulwich international cross-campus eco event, and judging by it’s success, next year’s camp will probably fill up very quickly!