Last week Grade 3 participated in habitat restoration at Ocean Beach. Girls worked diligently to clean up the beach, rejuvenating the natural beauty of our Pacific Coast. After the service trip students did reflective writing about their experience.
One girl wrote:
“It felt really good because we were having fun and we were helping the environment.”
On Tuesday, Grade 7 girls left campus to explore the California Academy of Sciences and volunteer with the nonprofits Glide and City Hope. At the end of the day each group participated in reflective work, which allowed students to process their profound experiences.
The day was designed to help our students inquire as they prepare for their Rise to the Challenge (RTC) capstone project work (taking place in May). For RTC, girls will strive to identify challenges they feel passionate about, then develop action plans to address those challenges, using their knowledge, resources, and collaborative talents. Students will have the opportunity to choose their own topics, do in-depth research, then share their findings, providing short and long-term solutions to various local and global problems.
These excursions allowed our girls to investigate issues facing our environment and learn more about the intricacies of urban poverty.
-Special thanks to Hamlin parent, Bart Shepherd (Senior Director of the California Academy of Sciences) for speaking with our students about the inner workings of the Academy.
This year our Earth Day theme focused on protecting animals on planet earth. Over the last several months we looked at worldwide conservation efforts, how animals’ populations are interconnected with their habitat’s health, and threats facing animals. We investigated these topics through a series of school activities, speakers, and field trips.
Last Friday, we celebrated Earth Day with a wide array of animal-related activities.
-Meeting/seeing various animals, including the following: alligator, Burmese python, armadillo, lynx, tamandua, sloth, hedgehog, ringtail lemur, possum, and a snapping turtle (Thanks to Safari Encounters)
-Learning interesting facts about animals from a presentation by Safari Encounters
-Taking action through art by: designing animal stamps, signing petitions to support endangered species, making public service announcement videos, and other activities
-Conducting a bake sale to raise money for the World Wildlife Fund
-Watching films related to protecting animals and our planet
A talented team of Hamlin girls created the film Our Ocean as part of their Grade 5 intensive work last spring. This coming Sunday the film will be shown at the Cowell Theater (10 a.m. at Fort Mason) as part of the International Ocean Film Festival.
Now in its 16th year, the IOFF is an acclaimed festival of independent ocean-related films from all over the world. Themes range from ocean adventure, science, and marine life to sports and coastal cultures. We look for films that not only entertain audiences but also educate and inspire people to participate in environmental efforts in and around the ocean, as well as promote better ocean stewardship.
The student film explores the importance of the ocean and delves into the crucial environmental threats that it currently faces. Our Ocean blends beauty and splendor, with a call to action, echoing Hamlin’s mission to meet the challenges of our time.
Thursday night four Grade 8 students and Ms. Wanda M. Holland Greene (Head of The Hamlin School) spoke at the ADay of the Girl Fundraiser and Celebration held by the nonprofit Alliance for Girls. The event took place at the Salesforce building in San Francisco.
The Hamlin School has been a member of Alliance for Girls for a number of years. The mission of Alliance for Girls is:
To ensure that girl-serving organizations are more connected, more effective and better able to prepare today’s girls to be the leaders, agents of change and thriving women of tomorrow.
Our students spoke about their work creating the 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).
Dani shared the following in her remarks:
Girls and women have multiple stereotypes and negative connotations attached to them. We are often thought of as overly emotional. Well, we used that “emotion” to fuel and put our hearts into our film. When women are passionate about something, there is no stopping them. You push them down and we pop right back up. Investing in young women is investing in the future.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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 scientistssewed 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.
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