In January 2017, in line with our SIS values and mission statement, we made a committed decision to begin the process to become a recognised Eco-school. In June, we were delighted to receive the much-coveted green flag, granted by the Eco-school organisation. Carmen, from the Spanish branch of the organisation, spent the day at school, meeting all the groups around the school who have been making enormous strides to make the school more environmentally friendly.
Carmen met primary students to hear about their gardening projects, which included the introduction of “vermiculture” composting project, which had originally been a Dreaming Dragons creation. She met M3 (now M4) students to hear about their community projects which included introducing the boxed water to the chiringuito, use of bamboo cutlery, and she heard about student involvement in the local climate crisis strikes that were taking place in Andalucia. She also spoke to a student who had made a contraption to remove plastic from seawater.
Valentina Stirling told Carmen about the Organic Farming Project we have been supporting in Ecuador since 2016, led by the Tsáchila indigenous community. The Organic Farming Project doesn’t only aim to farm local products in a sustainable manner, through ecological methods and without the use of chemical products, but also takes the regeneration of the delicate flora and fauna surrounding the fields very seriously. This also feeds into the Tsáchila’s Edible Forest Project and reforestation activities, into which KP has invested funds and which SIS students have been involved with hands-on work through the Ecuador Expeditions. Native reforestation and organic farming projects are also in place in Asni, Morocco. Their organic honey and saffron are available to buy through our Dreaming Dragons social enterprise, created with the purpose of promoting social commerce as a force for good.
Cantina Manager, Jose Miguel Ledesma, spoke to her about how the cantina has made significant strides in reducing the use of disposable plastic. The catering team are working hard to try to ensure that the food that they are serving is seasonal and locally sourced. Head of Operations, Enrique Del Viso, told her all about the energy-saving strategies that have been implemented by the operations teams, such as energy-saving LED lights which turn off automatically, a new air conditioning system in the main building, the construction of the roof and solar-heated ambient temperature of the swimming pool. They also discussed the plans for the new building on campus which will use solar energy for heating the water, minimal use of concrete, natural light and natural ventilation. The high spec, large windows will be appropriately insulated to conserve energy.
The final part of her visit was spent in the permaculture garden, where she met volunteer parent Lisa Greenwood as well as a number of students who told her about the work that they had been doing cultivating organic vegetables. When harvested some of these vegetables were used for weighing activities by our primary students before being passed on to the school kitchen to cook and serve at lunchtime.
Moving forward we are very excited to tell you about our Climate Change Awareness Days which will be happening on the final Friday of each month to tie in with the Send A Child To School days. Students will be encouraged to walk or cycle to school and those who live beyond Sotogrande will be encouraged to carpool. The cantina will also be playing its role by ensuring that all of the food served that day is sustainably produced.
Continuing with the great work of previous years, we are offering a wide range of extra-curricula Eco-School connected activities that the students can get involved with.
- Ms Laetitia Knight will be mentoring a group of students looking at reducing and recycling food waste.
- Mr Peter Reichart and Mr Jorge Antunez Neira and secondary students will be continuing the fantastic work in the Permaculture Gardening Club.
- Ms Eva Garcia Rodrigalva and Ms Diana Szyperska will be running a Secondary Eco-School Club, and have already helped to create an Eco-School code of conduct.
- Mr Tomas Brown and Mr Eduardo Del Aguila are overseeing Eco-School education in the Little Einsteins building, one of the things that they have started with is making eco-bricks for building projects in their grounds.
- Ms Gema Tocon Borraso and Ms Sara Lopez Lavela’s are running a club which uses recycled items for arts and crafts activities.
- Ms Eliza will be working with Ms Marta del Águila and Ms Jane to promote environmental issues within the Primary School during the Primary Kindred Project Club
- Ms Grace Carter will be working with students on projects at the boarding house.
If you would like to get involved with any of our Eco-School clubs please contact the teachers involved by email or speak with Henry at reception who can point you in the right direction.
Eco-School Team & Pimary Teacher