Staff Focus: Elizabeth Hambleton

Written by Roseline Yang, Community Relations Officer  

Our staff focus is Elizabeth Hambleton. Liz’s passion for the environment ties in well with the UN’s Global Goals, which the students have been introduced to this year.

Who is Elizabeth Hambleton?
Elizabeth Hambleton is a Year 6 teacher from Canada and has been working at YCIS for 5 years now. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Geography and used to work with Year 4 at Regency Park. This is her second year at Century Park campus. Not only has she been a Year Leader since her second year, she has also been involved with the Environmental Committee/Professional Learning Community since she joined the school.

Where does your interest for the protection of the environment comes from?
I am specialized in Geography, and at University I had a very inspiring teacher who was passionate about environmental education. He would always give us tips about how to be conscious and care about the planet. One time, he was invited once to speak at a conference in the United States but he did not feel comfortable flying there and emitting all those carbon emissions. In order to offset his carbon emissions, he asked us, his students, to walk or cycle to school each day for a week. We happily supported him and cut down our own emissions to make up for his.

So, is this what you do as well with your own students? I saw you at every school event and especially during Primary Christmas concerts selling at a booth for The Million Tree Project and every time, you were surrounded by students helping you. How did you convince them to help and why are you so committed to the Million Tree Project?
I am the chair of the Environment PLC at school and the first half of the school year is focused on fundraising for the Million Tree Project (MTP). I was lucky enough to meet Jane Goodall a few years ago and it is her organisation that started the Million Tree Project. I feel committed to this project and that I should lead by example if I want others to support this environmental cause of planting trees in Inner Mongolia.

About the students, I just asked who would be interested in helping and they all are! They enjoy it and it is also good experience for them. It is also easier for children to sell the Christmas ornaments and the tote bags to the parents. They are so cute and it is hard to say no!

So how much money did you raise for the Million Tree Project this year?
From October to Christmas Break this school year, through all the school events – POP Picnic in October, The Christmas Tree Lighting in November and the four Year-Level Christmas concerts in December – we managed to raise 7500 RMB, which is 300 trees to be planted. It is important to note that most years a group of our Secondary students go to plant the trees in Inner Mongolia. The more trees we ‘plant’, the more students are able to go.

Can you tell me what the Environment PLC focuses on and how the school educates our students about the environment?
First of all, we try to raise funds and help environmental organisations such as the Million Tree Project and World Wildlife Fund. At school, we have assemblies to teach the children about our Earth and how we can protect it. Our curriculum also includes standards in different units that are related to the environment. Every April, we hold our annual Environment week with a different focus each day, e.g. Meatless Monday or Waste-free Wednesday. Children learn to understand that our choices affect the environment, e.g. the waste that comes from individually wrapped snacks or the energy and resources required to raise pigs that will be sold onto the food market.

Since you have been at YCIS for some years, I was wondering if you have seen any change or impact on the students?
Actually, since I used to teach Year 4 students and I am now at our Century Park campus, I have the chance to see my prior students and some continue being very involved with the protection of the environment. They help with the paper recycling around the school and are involved in the Secondary Eco-club.