Tag Archives: environment

Hamlin Turns Old Uniforms Into Art

Over the years, Ms. Ching has supervised the lost and found bins. Among the many items discovered in the bins are Hamlin uniforms. Periodically these old uniforms are shredded in order to make space for other things. As students learn to recycle, reuse and repurpose to help save the planet, it became evident that these abandoned Hamlin uniforms could be turned into something beautiful and artistic. Grade 7 art students selected one of these middies and created a unique self-portrait using symbols, words, and images. Designs were embroidered on the shirts, giving new life to these forgotten articles of clothing.

Thank you, Ms. Ching for your support of this art project and for your vigilance in finding homes for all the lost and found items.

Hamlin Attends San Francisco Youth Summit

On May 4, Hamlin joined eight other San Francisco schools at a Youth Summit focused on Awareness and Action. Hamlin Grade 7 students attended workshops and participated in the event. Our resident movie makers, Avery, Dani, Helena, and Allie led a workshop focused on their film, “Strawbucks.” The film interweaves detailed information connecting the use of plastic straws (in businesses like Starbucks), to the growing Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The attending schools were: Town, Creative Arts Charter, Children’s Day, Millennium, Live Oak, San Francisco School, Cathedral, and San Francisco Friends. There were almost 300 people in attendance.

The summit was hosted by the San Francisco Friends School and addressed the following topics (among others) in 20-minute workshops led by students:

Homelessness, Gun Control, Sexual Harassment, Mass Incarceration, Human Trafficking, the Israel/Palestine Conflict, Plastics and the Environment

At the end of each workshop, presenters shared specific ways to take action: using social media, contacting government officials, and supporting boycotts.

The summit no doubt inspired our students as they begin to think about their upcoming Rise to the Challenge (RTC) projects.

To learn more about RTC, please visit: http://www.hamlinblog.org/blog/2017/06/12/leadership-in-action-symposium-rise-to-the-challenge/

Spoken word artists from Youth Speaks performed in the morning. At the end of their performance they invited students to take the stage to share their voices. Sophie M. stepped forward and performed her original song, “Nightingale.” Below is the recording.

Dr. Sylvia Earle Visits Hamlin For Earth Day

On April 27, the Hamlin School welcomed world-renowned marine biologist, Dr. Sylvia Earle.

Dr. Earle is an American marine biologist, explorer, author, and lecturer. She has been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence since 1998. Earle was the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and was named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998. She is also part of the group Ocean Elders, which is dedicated to protecting the ocean and its wildlife.

Dr. Earle spoke for almost an hour to a room full of more than 400 students and parents. She made the following inspiring statements (among others):

-If anyone ever tells you can’t do something, ask why not?

-Every creature on earth is unique.

-We are the first generation to see the consequences of consuming the earth.

-The earth is all there is for the future of humankind and we have to take care of it.

-I was attracted to living things on this earth since the beginning of my memory.

-Get wet, get into the water of the earth, if I stay out of water too long dry rot sets in.

-I lived for two weeks underwater, having the ocean as a living laboratory.

-Women were not expected to dive, be scientists, or aquanauts.

-I can do what I can do to make a difference.

-Have the ocean be a part of your life.

Near the end of her speech, Dr. Earle spoke about Hope Spots.

Hope Spots are special places that are critical to the health of the ocean — Earth’s blue heart. Hope Spots are about recognizing, empowering and supporting individuals and communities around the world in their efforts to protect the ocean. Dr. Sylvia Earle introduced the concept in her 2009 TED talk and since then the idea has inspired millions across the planet. While about 12 percent of the land around the world is now under some form of protection (as national parks etc.), less than six percent of the ocean is protected in any way. Hope Spots allow us to plan for the future and look beyond current marine protected areas (MPAs), which are like national parks on land where exploitative uses like fishing and deep sea mining are restricted. Hope Spots are often areas that need new protection, but they can also be existing MPAs where more action is needed. 

In addition to Dr. Earle’s visit, Hamlin students also participated in the following Earth Day activities:

-Explored the ocean with virtual reality glasses

-Wrote letters to government officials urging them to reduce plastic usage

-Watched the play “Plastic is not Fantastic” (performed by students in grades 3 and 4)

-Created pledges to support the environment

-Played ocean charades

To learn more about Dr. Earle’s nonprofit, please visit https://mission-blue.org/

Below is a clip of Dr. Earle speaking:

 

The Hamlin Ocean: Merging of Art & Science

The Hamlin Ocean is an interdisciplinary, cross grade level collaboration of young artists and scientists created for this year’s Ocean Awareness eco-theme.

Using recyclable materials, Kindergarten artists created papier maché sea turtles, penguins, dolphins, and seals. In science class, they learned about the layers of the ocean, and made intertidal zone animals.

First Grade scientists sewed bioluminescent fish with adaptations for survival using copper tape, LED lights, coin cell batteries, and felt. In art class, they designed ceramic dolphin and penguin bells.

Second Grade artists designed bioluminescent jellyfish using recycled vinyl and paper lanterns. In science, they experimented with neutral buoyancy and plankton.

Using recycled cardboard and paint, Third Grade artists engineered sea creatures in relief sculpture. In science, they added circuitry to the sculptures using copper tape, LED stickers, and coin cell batteries.

Fourth Grade artists studied the texture and shape of starfish and created ceramic starfish sculptures. In science, they learned about Dr. Sylvia Earle’s ocean exploration and used Book creator, Pages, or Canva to make posters with inspiring quotes and facts.

This beautifully intricate display will be showing in Mckinne Lounge through our Earth Day celebration on April 27.

You can see the underwater world in this video:

Surfrider Foundation Speaks at Hamlin

On April 6, Eva Holman from Surfrider Foundation spoke with our middle school students. This year we have had several speakers focused on our Ocean Awareness eco-theme. Ms. Holman added to the conversation with a clear passion for preserving our Oceans.

Surfrider is a community of everyday people who passionately protect our playground – the ocean, waves, and beaches that provide us so much enjoyment. We ensure clean water, healthy ocean and coastlines and accessible beaches for all to enjoy by finding lasting solutions to the threats our ocean faces.

Ms. Holman made the following key points (among others):

-Landfill is where our garbage is dumped and indefinitely preserved in anaerobic environments. When I say anaerobic I mean we pile layer after layer of garbage creating this mummified tomb that pollutes the ground and the air.

-Recycling makes us feel good right? So happy that here in California we have such great recycling programs. There’s an unfortunate truth about recycling, we should really call it hope cycling or wish cycling, where when you throw something into a recycling bin you should make a wish and hope that it gets recycled.

-Of the 300 million tons of plastics that are produced annually in the United States only 10% are actually captured for recycling.

-To complicate things more, there are many different types of plastic that melt at different rates. Each time a plastic is processed for recycling it loses integrity and becomes a lesser quality product. A plastic bottle isn’t recycled into another plastic bottle, it’s down cycled into something like a plastic bag that is just eventual garbage. 

-The great Pacific garbage patch is twice the size of Texas. There are five main subtropical oceanic convergent zones, which is to say where currents meet and create a whirlpool effect. These are called 5 gyres. The debris that is carried into these gyres is not floating at the top but rather suspended throughout the entire water column. 

-Plastic is mistaken for food. Researchers have been documenting the ingestion of plastics by all manner of sea life, from zooplankton to whales and all the creatures in between

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Trout in the Classroom at Hamlin

During the month of March, Grade 3 students learned about the fragile lifecycle of fish through their participation in a program called Trout in the Classroom.

Trout in the Classroom is a community-based program which allows students to experience first hand the delicate balance needed for animals to survive in aquatic ecosystems. Using eggs provided by a hatchery, classes set-up and maintain an aquarium for the purpose of observing the development of fish from the eyed-egg stage until they become young fry. Students engage in a course of study which supports the learning experience across curriculum area. This program is run cooperatively by local schools, fishing clubs and government agencies.

Objectives:

-Provide a positive learning program for classrooms on the value of aquatic ecosystems through the hatching and release of trout.

-Help students learn about their local watershed and how human activities affect the quality of water in local streams, lakes and the bay.

The trout eggs were received at the beginning of March and hatched near the end of the month. Two of the fish were born with spinal defects, but the rest did well. The fish had their pure spring water changed twice a week, and had a carefully monitored feeding schedule. Throughout the process students were able to see firsthand the various life stages of the trout as they moved from embryonic, to hatching, to larval, to becoming juveniles.

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Students Win 1st Place at International Ocean Film Festival

On March 11, four dynamic Grade 7 filmmakers won first place in the middle school student section of the 15th Annual International Ocean Film Festival held in San Francisco, California. Allie, Avery, Dani, and Helena, were recognized for their film, Strawbucks.

Strawbucks is a short film that interweaves detailed information connecting the use of plastic straws (in businesses like Starbucks), to the growing Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The film utilizes interviews with Hamlin students to create a powerful narrative, urging viewers to replace their plastic straws with ones that are more environmentally friendly (metal, glass).

You can watch the film below:

Hamlin Attends International Ocean Film Festival

On March 8, Hamlin students walked a mile down the hill to the Cowell Theater (Fort Mason) to watch films from the 15th Annual International Ocean Film Festival. The films provided inspiration and crucial information, a perfect fit for this year’s eco-theme focused on Ocean-Awareness.

The International Ocean Film Festival is:

Dedicated to using film as a medium to increase public awareness of the environmental, social, and cultural importance of marine ecosystems and foster a spirit of ocean stewardship, IOFF is now the premier venue in North America for ocean-related films.

Every year, IOFF produces an acclaimed festival of ocean-themed films from all over the world that are largely unavailable to the general public. Themes range from marine science and industry to sports and adventure. We look for films that entertain, educate, and encourage active participation in ocean conservation.

Students watched several films from all over the world. Highlights included learning:

-How the bodies of pelicans dive into the water at 45mph

-About the declining population of sharks in the region of Borneo

-About coral restoration projects, and how coral is vital to the ocean’s ecosystem

-About Mexican fishing bats and their nightly excursions to feed on fish

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Heirs To Our Oceans Visits Hamlin

This year’s eco-theme at The Hamlin School is Ocean Awareness. On January 5, we welcomed Heirs To Our Oceans, a dynamic group of young leaders striving to protect our beautiful planet earth.

Heirs to Our Oceans is a rising tide of young leaders around the globe who are taking the ocean crisis into their own hands, educating themselves and others, bringing hope and solutions to the surface, and creating waves of change that will ensure the health of our blue planet for their generation and for future generations.

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Heirs To Our Oceans is a nonprofit started by young people, with over 200 members globally. The core group (ages 11-14) spoke passionately and profoundly on a variety of topics.

They made the following points (among others):

-93% of extra heat from greenhouse gases goes into the ocean

-Coral bleaching/dying, ocean acidification, and sea level rise are growing concerns

-We can reduce our impact on the environment by eating less beef, using renewable energy, and doing away with single use plastics

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Mountain Lake: A Good Project Indeed

Written by Rose Helm, Middle School Division Head. Originally posted on her blog, At the Helm (password protected).

Last month, I attended a conference held at Lick-Wilmerding High School put on by Project Zero, an education research group out of Harvard University, who describes their research as “investigations into the nature of intelligence, understanding, thinking, creativity, ethics, and other essential aspects of human learning.” In one of the sessions at the conference, I learned about a specific arm of their research spearheaded by Howard Gardner and other intellectual heavyweights, known as “The Good Project.” The Good Project explores the cross section of ethics, excellence, and engagement that combines for what the group calls, good work or “work that is excellent in quality, socially responsible, and meaningful to its practitioners.”

In the group’s research, they discovered that younger people who tended to compromise their core values or integrity in the pursuit of excellence did not see themselves as someone who possessed the ability to challenge the status quo or effect meaningful change. Through reading the case studies from the Good Project’s research, it struck me that these young people who had made choices that compromised their integrity lacked a sense of agency.

Hamlin’s mission statement audaciously states that we aim to inspire our girls to become innovators and leaders. In order to become extraordinary innovators or leaders, Hamlin girls need to have a belief that they have the capacity to act independently and to make their own free choices; they need to possess a sense of agency that is grounded in ethical decision-making, or integrity.

image1 copyA few weeks ago, I visited one of Rachel Davis’s sixth grade science classes and was struck by how the work they are doing in conjunction with the Presidio Trust is providing them with a platform to be innovators and leaders in an ethical decision-making context and fostering in them a sense of agency. For the past several years, the sixth grade has partnered with the Presidio Trust to study the water quality in Mountain Lake; the data collected by our students is actually the Presidio’s key source of information for understanding the state of the water.

Inspired by the conversations in their science classes, two girls in the sixth grade, Ava L. and Mikayla W., attended an open meeting about the problem of San Francisco residents releasing non-native species, such as carp, goldfish, and turtles into the lake. The Presidio Trust’s proposal is to eliminate a non-native species of fish from the lake using a chemical toxin that specifically targets the invasive, non-native species. The girls reported back to the class, and the class read and responded to an article published on SFGate. Scientist Jason Lisenby was so taken by the girls’ passionate interest in this situation that he came to Hamlin to speak directly with the girls Friday, October 24. As a result of his visit, many girls have already taken action by signing the pledge to stop releasing non-native species in the lake.

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That the girls have a voice in this ethical dilemma – poison non-native fish to clear the lake of toxic algae and restore it to a healthy state – is powerful in its own right. But what is perhaps more powerful is to see how their sense of agency in this context increases the engagement of all the students. When I asked the girls about how they felt about doing this work, many remarked about feeling good about doing something for their local community or laying the groundwork for future Hamlin classes that will continue the partnership with the Presidio. The common thread among all their comments was that they saw themselves as making an impact; they saw themselves as leaders and innovators.

In the words of sixth grader Laurel F., Hamlin girls “are participating in, like, a scientific revolution.”

Read more about Howard Gardner and The Good Project.