SIS News Archive

Saving the Elephants, One Class at a Time
Posted 05/28/2014 09:26AM



It all started with Doug and Lori Grezeszak’s trip to an elephant orphanage in Kenya, Africa. The stories from their visit, of the thousands of elephants being killed for their tusks and what the orphanage was doing to protect these elephants, would inspire two high school advisories, 9 Earth and 10 Fire, to get involved.  As part of their service learning projects, the two advisories were able to raise enough funds to foster three elephants that had been orphaned, mostly due to illegal poaching, through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, "one of the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation programs in the world” (http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org).  But, this isn’t where the story, or their influence, ended.

It started with one kindergartener’s question, “Why are they killing the elephants?” Mrs. Edwards’ kindergarten class responded, “We must do something!”  And, they did.  

With the coordination of teachers at the Jingshan and Bayside campuses and with the help of technology, a Skype interview was set up between the kindergarteners and the two high school advisories. The video call began with the high school students sharing a video they created, which documented the process they went though to foster the elephants. The kindergarteners “loved the video” and wanted to know more. They asked lots of excellent questions: “How many elephants have been killed?” “How many elephants were you able to save?”  “How did you raise money?” “What can we do?"  By the end of the interview, Mrs. Edwards’ class was ready to save the elephants too!  After a very enthusiastic brainstorming session, they decided on a mini Walk-a-thon (date to be announced) to raise money so their class, too, could become a foster parent to an orphaned elephant, “or maybe two!”  It was truly inspiring to watch this cross-campus collaboration and see how two classes could make a difference, not just in the lives of the elephants they fostered, but in the lives of 18 kindergarteners who were inspired to do the same.

Here are a few comments from the high school students to the kindergarteners that were posted on their school blog:

“I thought it was fun to skype call with the kindergarden class. We inspired them to do something good for humanity which I’m proud of.” -Nitay

“I think that the mini walk-a-thon is a great idea. I think the kids will have a great time saving their very own elephant. Save THE ELEPHANTS!!!!!” -Javier

“Very original and interesting experience. I never knew I would do that one day. It’s awesome that kids are exposed to this kind of ethical responsibility at such a young age.” -Matti

If you would like to get involved too, you could support the kindergarteners in their Walk-a-thon by making a small donation. It only takes 17 RMB per child for them to be able to foster one elephant!  Contact  Ms. MacCormack @ dmaccormack@sis.org.cn or Ms. Edwards @ medwards@sis.org.cn for more information.  To learn more about the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, please visit http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org.

By Dorie MacCormack, HS Teacher

 



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