© 2016 mckeownb

GIN Environment year recap

By Reece Dolan – All photos by GIN Environment members

Starting off the academic year of 2015- 2016 with a clear idea of what we wanted to accomplish, this has in many ways been a highly successful year for the HS GIN environment group. The activities we have engaged in throughout the year can largely be split into three subsections: the weekly cemetery cleanup, the semesterly beach cleanup and growing of all forms of vegetation ranging from flowers, herbs and vegetables.

The cemetery clean-up we engage in on a weekly basis begins roughly one hour before school and is undoubtedly one of the core activities that really define what we are trying to accomplish at GIN environment. During the cleanup, we collect various forms of litter both inside the cemetery itself as well as the streets lining the outside of the cemetery.


Preparing sunflowers in no joke to Dooho and Shin

Our most recent venture to Yuigahama beach in Kamakura on November 15th marks our first beach cleanup expedition. Meeting together on Sunday, we spent roughly 3 to 4 hours dedicating ourselves to cleaning up various parts of the beach, similar to a large scale cemetery cleanup. Unfortunately, our June cleanup had to be cancelled due to bad weather.  


Kaori and Maria found a message in a bottle during beach cleanup.

While both these initiatives may seem to only have a minor impact, as the immediate effect is simply the maintenance of the environment, these small impacts we make on the local level come together and serve to remind people of the importance of cherishing the environment that surrounds us. Despite being so close to the environment everyday, as we stroll up the road to school, walking through the flourishing garden on the way to the auditorium, many of us do not take the extra second to consider the responsibilities we have as occupants of this very environment. As such, while our actions may seem fruitless at first glance, the awareness we raise through these initiatives to both members of YIS and nearby residents is GIN environment’s ultimate goal.

Our efforts towards growing various types of plants throughout the year also contribute to this goal, by promoting greenery throughout the school. We also sold plants we grew this year for large events in order to fund some of our activities, be it through buying plant seeds, new broomsticks, fertile soil and etc.



Cucumber plants

The annual YIS Food Fair was the first event in which we sold our plants, which largely consisted of herbs and flowers at the time. While it was unfortunate that it was raining and we just so happened to be stationed outside, I believe that we were successful given the circumstances, selling over half of our available plants. In terms of next year, it would be desirable to diversify our range of goods, perhaps selling some vegetables, while also becoming more organised as a group. Organisation is especially important and is something we somewhat struggled with this year as we must grow plants with the basis of having them ready on the day of the event.



A cucumber flower

The Flower group were responsible for growing a range of flower’s to sell on the upcoming Valentine’s day sale. With Food Fair under our belt, we were able to run the event more effectively, and with great success. For the event, we charged a fee for each flower while charging slightly extra for a message that comes along with the flower, with the option for personal delivery to a recipient. In hindsight, we should have advertised the event a little more, especially to students from the middle and primary years, but we sold all of our flowers nonetheless.

The end of the semester was dedicated to growing vegetables, such as spinach, carrots ad cucumbers, while once again growing sunflowers for the cemetery.

Going into next year, establishing sub-groups first and foremost would most likely be the most effective to constantly be working on a project throughout the year. This way we will be more prepared for possible school events and keep Mr. McKeown off our back! All in all, while we had some ups and downs, this year has definitely been successful for the GIN Environment group and we are armed with plenty of ideas and organisation systems that will translate over to next year. We expect more great things!




Sunflowers in the Foreign Cemetery



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