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Commonwealth Secondary School is a West Zone Centre of Excellence for Environmental Education since 2008. The school was also the first school to be awarded the President’s Award for the Environment in 2009 and later awarded the ASEAN Eco-Schools Award (Secondary School Category) in 2012.
“A community of passionate learners who spark imagination, illuminate new frontiers, and inspire change for a better world.”
The school believes that in order for our students to understand what it means to be environmentally conscious, to be aware of issues like sustainability and conservation, the school would need to develop into a learning environment. This is the generation of students who will inherit a world where these issues are really going to be a problem. As our students live in an urban environment, the opportunity that they have to get in contact with nature and biodiversity in general is very little. The school believes that in order to cause our students to be environmentally conscious, it all begins with understanding the natural world. When a relationship is built, it would be easier to develop the sense of duty to love and protect the environment.
Since 2012, the school has undergone several habitat enhancements projects, which include the Rainforest, The Stream, and The Wetland. These eco-habitats provide students with real eco-systems to study, and observe how organisms depend on each other for survival. Furthermore, the daily exposure to nature and biodiversity allow the students and staff the chance to develop a love and greater appreciation of nature.
Since the start of 2015, every department has committed to designing a lesson per semester to bring our students into the outdoor learning environment we have. Teachers came out with creative ideas to infuse environmental education into their teaching and learning plans.
Our students in Eco Club are also actively in conducting biodiversity audit to create a record of butterflies and birds observed in our school. These students are also our environmental ambassadors when it comes guiding visitors from schools in Singapore and other countries on a biodiversity trail around our eco-habitats.
Students in the school are also actively involved in environmental projects. Operation Golden Apple Snail has become a community effort in our school to eradicate this invasive snail species from The Wetland since Nov 2015. Pomacea canaliculata, also known as Golden Apple Snail, is a freshwater snail and is considered as a pest because of its voracious appetite for water plants including lotus, water hyacinth and water lettuce. This snail species has indeed caused a huge lost of floating plants at The Wetland in our school and displacement of native freshwater snails.
Tapping on the power of social media platforms such as Instagram, students and staff may post photos and videos on biodiversity, taken in our school, and share with a greater online community. To date, we have about 2300 posts on Instagram with the hashtag #cwssbiodiversity.
The termly Biodiversity Newsletter also consolidates the updates on wildlife encounters to share with students and staff, and educators who came to our school for biodiversity-related workshops and guided tours at our Biodiversity Trail.
As the West Zone Centre of Excellence for Enviromental Education, Commonwealth Secondary School seeks to be an inspiration for other schools towards developing our youths with a greater sense of connectedness with nature and duty for the environment.