DCI students connect with nature at ECO EXPLORER CAMP

Worm farms, aquaponics, water chemistry testing, re-cycled art and organic farming. Last weekend, more than 70 international students from three Dulwich College International (DCI) schools came together to camp under the stars at Dulwich College Shanghai Minhang (DCSM). Attended by Junior and Senior school students from DCSM, Dulwich College Shanghai (DCS) and Dulwich College Suzhou (DCSZ), this was the group’s first ever eco-oriented camping event, named the ECO EXPLORER Camp.

An immersive experience with nature that included 5 sustainability-focused workshops, 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 Allan from Dulwich College International spoke to students about the effect that pollution has on our environment, particularly here in China. He explained what DCI does to be more sustainable in their operation, and why it is important for our schools.  

During ‘Reflection Time’ at the end of the camp, DCSM 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 “really amazing” 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. DCSM 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.”  

Thank you to the teachers and students who attended the first DCI cross-campus eco-event, and we look forward to another successful event next year.