H.I.S. Environment Week 2021

Chumbe the turtle set free!

Our Environment Week in June was full of new colour, stories, and connections. Thank you to all who took part to help us make a difference in our classes, homes, and beyond.

Here is a little summary of what went on:

The H.I.S. Spring Environment Challenge helped students across the school to reduce their footprint on the environment through everyday habits and actions. This activity sparked great ideas and discussions, with some students earning punches on their cards for a whole week or even four!

Then in June, our Chumbe the Turtle mandala, inspired by our growing connection to Chumbe Island, filled the school hours with excitement and colour. At the same time the Kiembe Samaki school in Zanzibar did their own beautiful turtle painting and shared it with us.

In the PYP, EP students collected all the plastic waste that they produced, during snack and lunch, and learned about the 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). They really got to understand what Reduce means. EP worked in their garden, planting corn, potatoes, sunflowers, pumpkins and wild flower seeds.

Grade 1 students were also very busy planting corn, potatoes, sunflowers and pumpkins in their garden boxes. It is incredible how much their plants have already grown. They really enjoyed their Amazing Adaptations unit and they concluded that all living things depend on each other.

Grade 2 was very active creating a display at the front of the school with beautiful flowers to remind us all to look after the environment. Under the slogan, ‘It’s not my rubbish but it is my world’, they completed a garbage pick-up in their communities. Over a week, they sorted rubbish into its different recycling categories and placed it in the proper bins. They even zoomed with the education and conservation team from Chumbe Island and enjoyed singing the Coral Song. Here’s a link to the song! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cusz66JZXkA.

In the secondary school, Grade 7 learned about the impact human action is having on the planet during this new geological era that has been named Anthropocene.

In science class, the Grade 8 students researched issues of environmental concern, critically evaluated sources and evidence, and created presentations urging their classmates to learn more about the topics, which ranged from whaling to fast fashion.

During I&S, Grade 9 created some beautiful nature paintings. Proceeds from the paintings to the sum of 122€ were donated to the Heidelberg Forest in Brazil project which is engaged in the replanting of the Atlantic Rainforest (Mata Atlântica). The class also highlighted areas of human dependence and its effect on the environment by creating a school newsletter on global change during an interdisciplinary study in I&S and science.

Sibylle Riedmiller, a German social scientist and founder of the Chumbe Island marine protected area, gave an online talk to the Grade 10 I&S class on Chumbe Island to support their unit on sustainable development, and environmental and population issues.

In Frau Stricker’s Grade 9/10 German group, students sowed sunflower seeds and planted the seedlings into the new school lizard garden. In order to help the sunflowers to survive through the summer holidays, the students have built an irrigation system with “ollas” (terracotta pots). The students also wrote and designed signs to help explain the conservation of the lizards in the garden.

As part of their ecology unit, the DP biology students created mesocosms to model a closed system and, by carefully balancing organic and inorganic nutrients and processes, hope to keep their systems alive and healthy throughout the summer!

It has been an incredible Environment Week with Chumbe Island as a focus for the entire school, yet with some many other projects going on in different classes.

The Chumbe mandala bags have been ordered and with Grade 8’s help, we managed to raise 237€ from the bag sales. 150€ have been donated towards the education programs on Chumbe Island, and 87€ will help to cover the cost of the lizard signs on the playground. A big thank you to all of you who contributed to the fundraiser. Orders will be possible again next school year!

To further support education and conservation on Chumbe Island, check out their crowdfunding site:


The H.I.S. Environment Working Group would like to thank the following people for their incredible contributions towards our 2021 Environment Week. It has been such a pleasure working with you all, and we are already very excited about future projects together in the 2021-22 school year:

  • The teachers, staff, students and parents of Heidelberg International School
  • Ulli Kloiber and Enoch Kayagambe from the conservation and education team of Chumbe Island Coral Park, Zanzibar, Tanzania,
  • The waste ambassadors from villages of Buyu, Chukwani, Dimani, Kiembe Samaki, Kombeni and Nyamanzi, on Zanzibar.
  • The students of Kiembe Samaki School and their Environment Club teacher Mr.Issa.
  • The founder of Chumbe Island Coral Park, Sibylle Riedmiller.

Have a great summer!

The H.I.S. Environment Working Group