On May 7-8, our 5th grade students spent two full days exploring Mui Wo and Pui O on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. This overnight adventure is a part of our “Environmental Issues” study. The journey began bright and early Wednesday morning with parents waving goodbye to their students as we all got on the bus. The border crossings and bus changes went smoothly, and we arrived at our home base ready to explore.
During the two days, the students explored various habitats and discussed the related issues. In Pui O, the learners explored the fresh-water marsh, the berm, a salt-water marsh, and a river habitat. Seeing the water buffalo in their habitat was a highlight. We discovered that they are not native to Lantau but were imported from Vietnam to help with rice farming. One group witnessed a male defending his territory which was amazing. As we learned about the impacts on the environment, diminishing habitat, and the inevitable conflict between humans and the buffalo, all of us looked at the complex issues from a variety of perspectives.
Cleaning up the beach in Mui Wo, hiking to Ark Eden to discuss sustainability, composting, and meeting Charlie the pig were favourites of the students. The ultimate in giving back to the environment was to hike up to a burned area on the hills and plant trees. The background knowledge they came with supported their deeper understanding of the very real problem of trash in our oceans and on our land and the complexity of energy production and sustainability.
Throughout the two days, the students applied the ESLRs. From organizing their dorm room with their friends, swimming in the ocean, asking questions, applying previous learning, and observing nature, the learners exemplified what it means to be a contributing global citizen. Despite the very rainy afternoon on Thursday, the students and teachers each had a very meaningful experience together.
Written by Johnna Huiet