Welcome to the home of the ICS EcoClub, rebranded as the Eco Adventure Club, the environmental conservation and restoration organization of Ivy Collegiate School! Please read about our students and their efforts below:
Eco Adventure Club
The COP(Conference of the Parties) is hosted by a different government annually. The first such meeting – ‘COP1’ – took place in Berlin, Germany, in 1995. Last year, COP26 was jointly hosted by the UK and Italy in Glasgow, Scotland and the UK and Italy continue to hold the COP presidency until COP27 taking place this year in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
The impact of climate change on our planet will be felt most by our youth and future generations. Their collective voice needs to be heard. Together, we aim to deliver their message, held within the relay baton, with so much support that it is impossible to ignore.
Along the extraordinary route, the baton will cross seas, mountain ranges, glaciers, and deserts and visit schools, at-risk locations, and climate change projects meeting scientists, engineers, and designers at the forefront of the green revolution to better understand what is happening to our planet and to inspire local climate action.
Running Out of Time is a 7,767km non-stop relay from Glasgow, Scotland (Host of COP26) to Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt (Host of COP27). There are a total of 732 stages, with each stage being around 10km long. The relay runs day and night for 38 days and travels to 18 countries. Within the relay baton is a climate change message from young people to the decision-makers at COP27.
The goal is for the relay baton to be passed from person-to-person and arrive in Egypt. Most stages will be run and a small number will be cycled. Sailboats will be used to sail across the English Channel and The Mediterranean.
As the ICS Eco Club could not participate in the actual race, we were given the opportunity to send a message to COP27. Here is our message.
We wish everyone involved in this fantastic relay the best of luck.
Ganghwa Island Cleanup Action!
by Joe Chun
On November 5th, Eco Club went on a camping trip to Ganghwa Island in the northwest of Incheon. The reason this location was chosen was that it was next to a beach that, due to its location, was in the path of the prevailing wind (mentioned in our last blog) This beach, unfortunately, had a severe problem with trash.
When we arrived, it was obvious to us the main types of trash were plastic and styrofoam. The plastic was easy to pick up using the trash grabbers, but unfortunately, we were unable to pick up the styrofoam as these were too big. These styrofoam pieces were used by commercial fishermen to help keep nets afloat.
We were split into groups of three. One person held the trash bag while the other picked up the trash. The third person kept a tally of what was collected.
Below is the data we collected:
As you can see from the graphs, misc plastic and straws were the biggest problems. More than 500 pieces of trash had been washed up/thrown away on the beach. Vinyl was another problem material. The biggest problem is plastic and styrofoam.
The large pieces of plastic were easy to pick up, but we didn’t know that there was a bigger problem that we couldn’t see. We took samples of sand, and when we returned to the classroom, we looked at the samples closer using hand lenses and a microscope. It became clear the sand also contained lots of microplastics!
(Photo of microplastics)
After finishing our beach clean up it was time to head back to the campsite and put the tents up and get ready for dinner.
Putting the tents up proved to be a bit of a challenge as we are all still learning how to pitch a tent. But there is one tent that is like a Rubix cube! Just as we thought we were getting somewhere a pole snapped. Mr. Morgan had to make a new pole so that we could use it. After the tents were pitched we were ready for dinner. The dinner was chicken stew, bread, and pizza. Some students made their own pizza. During dinner, we looked at the moon through the telescope. It was amazing to see the moon in such detail. After we had finished eating it was game time.
The other problem we faced was that the styrofoam was to big to move, and also there were no facilities to correctly dispose of it. So what can we do!!!
Over the coming months we will focus on these two main problems. The plan is to design and build a machine that will sort out the natural sand/seashells and other organic matter from the plastic and find a way to reuse the styrofoam. We will update you in our next blog.
We played Bingo and Mr.Morgan made rhymes with a British accent for the number he picked. We saw a lot of stars at night. After a few hours of playing board games and having free time, we brushed our teeth and went to sleep. There was a lot of noise during the night. Cats came to eat any leftover food and scream, there was a cockerel practicing karaoke all night and a snoring bear!( Mr. Morgan said it was Ms. Choi but maybe he was lying)!
In the morning we had breakfast. It was delicious. We packed our tent and some students were freezing so we warmed our bodies with hot chocolate. We packed up our stuff and went back to our school. We cleaned all the equipment and stored it ready for next year.
It was a good experience! Except for hearing a bear snoring!!!
Yeongjong-do Camping Trip!
by Joe Chun, Livingstone Lee, and Solomon Lee
On Oct 15, 2022, We went on our first camping trip with the Eco Club. First, we went walking. We found a lot of trash in a lake. In the lake, there was a specific corner full of trash. The prevailing wind caused this. As the prevailing wind comes from the west, trash from the Yellow Sea has washed ashore in Incheon. By understanding the direction of the prevailing wind, we can predict areas of Incheon that will contain the most pollution. We will use this information next year to help us plan trips to sites where we can do the most good by cleaning that area.
As we continued our walk, we came to a beach area, and as it was low tide, we could look at the wildlife and fauna on the mudflats. We found mudskippers. Mudskippers are amphibious fish, meaning they can live both in and out of the water. They can grow up to 30 centimeters long, and most are brownish-green. We also found crabs. The exciting thing about these crabs was that some lived in the surrounding fields and walked across the road and down the beach or wall to the ocean.
Mr. Morgan had prepared us a packed lunch consisting of a ham and cheese sandwich, fruit, a juice box, and some snacks. We ate this on the beach overlooking the mudflats.
After lunch, Mr.Morgan taught us how to make notes using our 'Rite in the Rain' notebooks. Once we finished eating and taking notes about the area, we walked along a track between the ocean and a large flat area. There were lots of water deer and crab tracks in the dried-up puddles. Just as we were about to turn off the track and walk onto the flat area, a water deer ran straight in front of us and disappeared into the long grass.
Looking over the flat ground, it differed from what we had previously seen. There were no colorful flowers or long grass; instead, it was covered in only one type of small red plant. This is because this ground had been reclaimed from the ocean, and the mud was dredged from the river bed. This 'soil' had a high salt content meaning normal vegetation struggles to grow here.
During all the walking, we also had a scavenger hunt where we had to find lots of different items from a list.
We returned to the campsite, and we started to put up the tents. It took over 2 hours to finish as for many of us this was the first time putting up tents. After we finished making camp, it was time for dinner. There was a lot of food! We had curried chicken kebabs, sausages, steak, mashed potatoes, greek salad, and BBQ pasta salad. The food was fantastic, but we were unable to eat it all!
After we ate the delicious dinner, we had free time. We played board games and chatted about what we had seen during the day. It was a great time. Finally, at 11:00 pm, we went to sleep.
At 6:00 am, some of us went deer hunting. We didn't see any deer, but we found many beautiful flowers and a lot of deer tracks too. There were many geese and ducks in the surrounding lakes, and we even saw a raccoon. After we got back to camp, we started making breakfast. We had hotdogs, scrambled eggs, and hot chocolate. It was delicious!!
We then had a break. After the break, we started to pack up the campsite and cleaned all the dirty dishes. It was a lot quicker taking the tents down but also extremely physical. By the time everything was packed up, it was time to go home. We had a great time, but we were ready for a nice long nap!!
ICS EcoClub's Field Trip!
by Joe Chun, William Lim, and Sejin Tennant
On September 17th, the Eco club went on a field trip to the Cheongna canal. The first job was to check the salt concentration of the canal with a saline test to see what type of water was present. The water tested brackish, saltwater, and freshwater combined since the canal empties into the ocean.
(The photo shows the canal water being tested for salinity)
Secondly, we started walking again and saw a large amphibian, but as it was fast, we could not get a photo of it. So instead, we took detailed notes of what we could remember to try and identify it later back at school.
(Here we can see Matthew Park making notes on the unidentified animal with the help of other eyewitnesses.)
We then ate snacks and took more notes on what we saw. We saw various species of living organisms, including cranes, herons, many different insects, and tracks from deer. For example, we found a Golden Orb Weaver spider, the Eurema Hecabe, or Common Grass Yellow butterfly, and many insects such as Earwigs, Centipedes, and Grasshoppers.
Then some of us explored the small lakes and ponds in the reeds around us. Of course, we got many bug bites! However, that was not the worst part! Unfortunately, this beautiful ecosystem is being destroyed by trash thrown away by the local fisherman. There was trash scattered all over the lake where some fishermen fish.
(Lots of smiles - even though there were many insect bites!!!)
(Here we are looking at the various species that live on and around the ponds)
Next, we went out of the reed field(again) and took pictures of wildlife and plants and animal tracks, and then our teacher Mr. Morgan took a video via drone so we could view what the reeds and ponds looked like from the air. Then, we scanned our surroundings and saw some silver-colored fish jumping out of the water! Finally, after the Eco club job, we got to eat ice cream! It was delicious
(A photo taken from the drone.)
Once we were back at school, we could identify what type of amphibian we say using the notes we took in the field. We believe it was a Huaren frog. They originate from China and are now common in certain South Korea.
Cleaning the Grassland
by Joe Chun and Matthew Park
On May 26th, 2022, ICS Eco club went to some wetlands near our school to learn about the biotic and abiotic factors in the area and also to clean it up.. All the Eco club members were excited even though the head of Eco club, Mr. Morgan told us that it will be mostly cleaning. Another teacher in the Eco club, Mr. Roe’s wife, also came! Our first location was the Shingok River, Cheongna. We worked for 1 hours over there! It was long, but very fun.
Firstly, when we arrived at Shingok river, Mr. Morgan taught us many things. For example, how to make an ICS Eco club journal, how to check if the water is salty or not, and how to check if the water is healthy. After we learned all those things, we started to do a very fun thing.
Before we started on the main job, we checked how salty the water was, and it was brackish. We also checked if the water was healthy, and it was very healthy. It was perfect for many animals to live in. After we learned that it is perfect for animals to live in, we did a little bit of notetake. Our next step was to find animals’ tracks, and many interesting things.
We found a lot of animals’ tracks, such as a deer’s footprint, deer’s dung. We realized that there were some deers living there. We also found many interesting animals. Like, a green/brown snake believed to be a rat snake, small spiders, and many small fish. There were many interesting plants too, for example False indigos, vascular plants, dictos and Desert false indigo.
After we found tracks of animals, we went to a grassland near that river. Everyone was tired because they worked so much, so we had a short snack time. After we had snack time, we started to clean up the grassland. There was a lot of trash. Such as plastic bottles, plastic bowls and so on. We thought we cleaned most of the trash in the grassland, but Mr. Morgan told us that we only cleaned up about 2% of the total trash.
We also found a lot of animals and their tracks there. We found deer's dung, a deer’s footprint, a white bird, a black bird, a yellow butterfly that has black tips, and so on. We concluded that the butterfly was an Eurema mandarina. We realized that the organisms get water from the river and live in the grassland.
Everyone worked hard and did their best to do the work. We learned a lot of things and tried to find the tracks of animals. We also cleaned up trash. We cleaned up more than 15 bags of trash during 3 hours. All the ICS Eco club members are proud of themselves. We are very excited to do the next job.
ICS EcoClub's First Job
by Joe Chun and Matthew Park
On April 9th, 2022, the ICS Eco Club did an amazing job with creating our brand new garden. On that Saturday, the Eco Club met on the school rooftop to do the gardening. EcoClub members were excited to participate even though we knew that it would be hard work and would smell terrible because of the fertilizer. During the 2 hours, we did a lot of fun things.
First of all, we dug the land to make a pond and to make a garden. We wanted to make
the pond to put living organisms there, and make an ecosystem. In order to do this, we had to
make the water clean. We tried to clean the water, but it didn’t work. We found a lot of worms
and grubs when we were digging.
Digging was a hard job but we got a lot of energy from Mr. Morgan’s dog, Dotty. We moved the stones, too. The Stones were interrupting the gardening so much, they were very heavy. We also found many ants and spiders. It was a little scary.
Second of all, we poured the water into the dug land. We needed much more water than we thought. The buckets of water we carried up to the roof probably weighed 1kg, but to the students it felt like 1t. After we poured the water we put fertilizer all over the garden.
It smelled more horrible than we thought it would, but the students did a great job. From that time, we realized that the level of the work is going up and up.
Last of all, we planted the seeds of many flowers and plants, and made fences to stop people from destroying the garden. Making the fence was not that hard. We just had to tie some bamboo sticks together with strings. At first, we were terrible at this, but soon, our skills became very good, and we finished the job very quickly
During these 2 hours we worked a lot. It was very hard and smelled horrible, but we all
did a great job doing this work. After we finished we felt very tired, but felt the sense of accomplishment more. All the Eco club members are excited to do the next job even though they know it’ll be hard, but we know that we are helping many insects and animals. It feels amazing that we have created our own small ecosystem. We can’t wait for the next job!