G’day from Footscray City College, Australia

Image: Footscray City College - oh so cool (so says Tony Birch)

Footscray City College – oh so cool (so says Tony Birch)

G’day from Footscray City College, Australia!

Footscray City College is a state school in the inner west of Melbourne, Australia. We have 46 different nationalities at the school, and almost 1,000 students. We overlook one of Melbourne’s great waterways, the mighty Maribyrnong River. We are an excited bunch of 14 and 15 year old kids with some great, committed teachers. We are exploring the city of Melbourne as well as the natural landscape that surrounds the city.

Here’s a film we made on our first day with Weather Stations

Our group are working with Tony Birch and the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas to improve our own writing and knowledge about climate change. Tony has written multiple fiction books including Shadowboxing and Blood. The Wheeler Centre is an organisation that organises talks and events for the public about lots of topics including writing, climate change and more.

Our goal is to get people talking about climate change and how it might impact on us in our own suburbs, streets and homes. We want people around the world to know that we’re thinking and uniting around the issue. Not only do we want people to think about climate change, we want to provoke them to action.

We look forward to sharing our work with all of the other Substations in Berlin this September!

– Students of Footscray City College Substation

Hello from Hel

IMG_3740The Polish Substation of the Weather Stations project is situated at the far end of the Hel Peninsula on the coast of the Baltic Sea. The Substation’s team are students of the Zespół Szkół Ogólnokształcących im. Obrońców Helu (General Education School Complex in Hel).

Participants of the project go to school at one of Poland’s most frequented summer resorts. In the town of Hel there are many tourist attractions, such as a cycling route that runs all the way through the Hel Peninsula, lovely beaches, an observatory pier from which one can view the flora of the dunes, remnants of the bunkers and casemates of the Hel Fortified Area, the Seal Sanctuary, where Poland’s population of the grey seal is being restored, run by the Hel Marine Station of the University of Gdańsk, Hel’s Seaport, the beaches, the Museum of Fishery and many others.

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In the summer, every day several thousand visitors want to experience Hel’s tourist attractions. Is it a blessing or a curse? Certainly obliterated during the summer holiday season is the charm of Hel, a place which at other times invites peaceful recreation.

The participants of the project say: “Thanks to the Weather Stations project, in which we have been involved for more than a year now, we are getting to know more and more about our peninsula. Early in March we watched birds near the seaport and the peninsula’s tip. With Mikołaj, an ornithologist from the Marine Station, we went on an excursion equipped with binoculars. We learnt about the lives of cormorants, mallards and long-tailed ducks, and the names of the several species of gull living in the seaport: the herring gull, the black-headed gull, the Caspian gull, and the common gull. Thanks to the trip we now know that long-tailed ducks frequently fall victim to what is known as bycatch, trapped in the nets cast for fish. We were also fortunate to encounter rare specimens: robin and snow bunting.”

photoAnd what is the everyday life of the school like? Throughout the school year there are many events, such as school fairs, drama productions, visits from interesting people, and more. The students develop athletically and artistically. They have staged several times the play The Story of the Blue Planet, whose author, Andri Magnason, visited the nearby city of Gdańsk.blekitnaplaneta

The students staged a guest performance of the play for children at Gdański Archipelag Kultury.

Beside Weather Stations there are also other educational projects going on at school, e.g. meetings with the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre. Whenever possible, there are excursions for students, from which they return to Hel inspired.
The school’s involvement in the project brings to Hel writers also engaged in Weather Stations. They run workshops for the youth and pose questions about the future of our planet. Recently Hel was visited by Xiaolu Guo from London.

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Hello from Romain-Rolland School, Germany

You can find Romain-Rolland-Gymnasium (RoRo) in the northern part of Berlin (Germany) which used to be the French district before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Its European profile is reflected by the variety of language classes offered to the students who learn English and French as their first and second languages. Additionally Spanish, Chinese or Latin classes can be attended. The second core theme is Sciences. At a young age, students learn how to experiment by working on special projects in cooperation with Berlin universities and national education foundations. The school community appreciates social commitment, gives the students a chance to develop their creative skills and teaches them social competences based on tolerance, peace, and considerateness.

RoRo had its first encounter with the Weather Stations project at the ilb International Literature Festival Berlin 2014 when a group of students attended a reading by Mirko Bonné from Hamburg (Germany) and Tony Birch from Australia. The students are in the age of 17 years.

Students from RoRo say:

“I really like the idea of connecting the aspect of climate change with literature so that there is an incentive even to people who might not be interested in this topic. I think in the project we will get to know a bit more about climate change from different perspectives; from the authors and from the other participants. I hope that we will learn how to express topics like climate change through literary texts. I am looking forward to getting more information when Mirko Bonné visits us.”

“I think that climate change does influence all of our lives and that we, as the young generation, should try to make the world a better place. It is not easy to draw attention to this subject, because everyone knows about climate change and its consequences. The problem is that just a few people help to prevent it. That is where the Weather Stations project comes in. They want to reach more and more people, the elders and the youth, and want them to know that with a little help from anyone, things can be changed. By using poems, short stories and promoting our school, we get a chance to take part in it.”

“I think the Weather Stations project will be a great project to learn about climate change and nature in a different way than just by watching TV or reading newspaper articles. I think it is great that we will get to know authors from different parts of the world.”

“I expect to learn more about the problems of climate change and the issues it causes around the world. I am particularly interested in the different opinions of different cultures toward that topic. In America, for example, I have even heard people say that climate change is not a real thing, and just made up by the media or environmental activists. I am excited to discuss these issues in class and with authors from all around the world who are interested in the same thing.”

Hello from Firhouse Community College, Ireland

Our College, Firhouse Community College, is located at the foothills of the Dublin Mountains. It is home to 750 students, from many different faith and ethnic backgrounds. Our uniform consists of a green, V-neck jumper, grey shirt, grey uniform trousers or grey knee length skirt, school tie, black uniform jacket with school crest, and plain black shoes. For sixth years we substitute the grey shirt for a white one, and the green jumper for a black one.

The school has many extra-curricular activities in a couple of areas. For sports, we have soccer, Gaelic football, rugby, hurling, camogie (Uniquely Irish sports), basketball, table tennis and athletics. We also hold educational activities throughout the year such as a French debate team, choir, European studies and quizzes.

We have a green schools committee, made up of students from all different year groups. This committee aims to promote and encourage environmentally friendly behaviour, such as recycling and energy and water conservation.  The school is working hard to be awarded a green flag, an award given to schools for participation in environmental issues.

We began our weather stations project with a writing workshop by Oisin McGann. We learned how to structure stories. We had interesting discussions on how to create a plot and develop characters.

In transition year, we are working on many different projects in our wide range of subjects in regards to the weather stations project. In geography, each student did a project on extreme climate change. In art, the students did a project drawing characters based on a certain weather, and also drew comic strips. In English, we wrote essays and poems about weather and we are now watching a movie “5 degrees below”. We also watch movies that are about natural disasters that occurred because of climate change, such as “Twister” and “The Day After Tomorrow”.  Our music class have recorded weather sounds and are mixing them into sound tracks. We also attended the strange Weather exhibition in Trinity College Dublin. Here the students of trinity had created many different weather instruments that showed the effects of many climate types. We attended an interesting talk in the Civic Theatre about the weather. Our school was recently nominated for The Credit Union Award.

The art students are currently creating a weather display of snow in the school library for the Weather Stations project using trees and artificial snow. We will display all of our work to date before christmas. This will become our space, for our project,so we can add ideas to it and use it as a source of inspiration also.

We are looking forward to hearing about the other schools in the project.

The Transition Year students of Firhouse Community College.

Hello from Islington Arts and Media School, UK

Hello to all Substations out there!

We’d like to introduce ourselves to you. We are a happy multicultural school in the London borough of Islington with committed staff, lots of facilities and many exciting opportunities to develop our talents further such as this Weather Stations project.

The IAMS substation is a group of Year 10 (15 year olds) students who have been working with Free Word. We meet up for a regular after school session with the Substation Co-ordinator from Free Word. We have also met up with some of the Weather Station’s international writers. So far we’ve; considered our favourite weather and childhood memories with Tony Birch from Australia; discussed writing from our own experiences with Xiaolu Guo from London; learnt about crafting a narrative with Oisin McGann from Ireland. Take a look at some of our writing on the Global Weather Stations website.

We are in the heart of busy urban London near to Finsbury Park station and not far from Arsenal Football Club. Some of us have lived in different countries however this project is introducing us to scenes, thoughts and ideas from around our planet and we’re very excited to be heading to Berlin later this year and meeting all of you!

So, goodbye for now and see you in September.

IAMS Substation.

Hello from Mount Seskin Community College, Ireland

Mount Seskin Community College recording a Weather Report podcast for Going Nowhere, Biennale in Melbourne. Recording at Contact Studio, South Dublin County Council Arts Office

Mount Seskin Community College recording a Weather Report podcast for Going Nowhere, Biennale in Melbourne. Recording at Contact Studio, South Dublin County Council Arts Office

When our school was invited to become a substation in the Weather Stations project towards the end of the last school year there was a vague understanding on our part that the project was something to do with climate change and writers from across the world. How we as a school community would engage with the project was not quite quantifiable, at least to us, at that point. Our school year opened with a presentation to staff on the notion of climate change. This provided a springboard for a storm of creative work that has seen our students from across the school working with two authors, Oisin McGann and Tony Birch. Our students have recorded podcasts of their weather memories in Rua Red. These podcasts have since become part of an art installation in Melbourne whilst the work of 1st Year, Jordan O’Toole, has been selected to be broadcast on Australian radio. Other students have visited the Civic Theatre to take part in a cli-fi debate. Still more got to visit the Science Gallery in Trinity College. Within the school, under the dynamic and creative guidance of a core team of teachers, students have been given opportunities to respond in a variety of ways to the issues and challenges raised by Weather Stations. Creative written pieces, tweets to Mother Earth, posters and a sculpture by 1st Years are just some of the ways in which our students have responded so far to the project.

A powerful aspect of the project is that both teachers and students can respond in a variety of ways. Some activities are whole-school based; specially designed lesson plans that are delivered to all students at a specified time or the suspension of class so that we can enjoy individual students reading their work over the school intercom. Other activities are driven by subject teachers with their own classes and this allows for individual, creative responses. The quality of the work is underpinned by the huge investment by the core teaching team here in school and the continuous support and encouragement of Tallaght Community Arts and Collective Action.

Our engagement with the project has been hugely stimulating and enjoyable. The response from both students and teachers is so positive and the success of activities creates energy for further engagement. We didn’t quite know where we were going when we set out on our Weather Stations journey but the trip so far has been great and we look forward to continuing to respond to the challenges of climate change over the coming months.

Ms Helen Taylor, Principal, Mount Seskin Community College, Tallaght, Dublin. Ireland

Hello from Colaiste de Hide, Ireland

Colaiste de Hide students working with Wheeler Centre writer in residence, Tony Birch

Colaiste de Hide students working with Wheeler Centre writer in residence, Tony Birch

Hi, a Chairde,

Is muidne daltaí Choláiste de hÍde, Gaelscoil anseo i dTamhlacht. Foghlaimímid gach ábhar trí Ghaeilge, ceann de theangacha oifigiúla na hÉireann. We learn all our subjects through Irish, the other official language in Ireland. We would like to introduce ourselves to your school community. We have been participating in this project on how to change people’s attitudes on climate change.

Ar dtús a little bit about the school – Tallaght is in West Dublin and our school is carved into the local Park, Tymon Park. Check it out on Google maps and www.colaistedehide.ie . it is named after the first president of the Republic of Ireland, Douglas Hyde/ Dubhghlas de hÍde. It has great facilities and 323 students. Our school uniform is green and red. We are a group of 15-16 year olds from the TY –Transition Year . That is a year between the middle state exam (Teastas Sóisearach/ Junior Certificate) and the senior state exam (Ardteist/ Leaving Cert). It gives us a chance to try new things out, go on loads of tours and listen to new ideas outside of the classroom.

As part of the Weather Stations Project we have had workshops with the Irish resident writer, Oisín Mc Gann and the Australian writer, Tony Birch. We took a trip to the Strange Weather exhibition in the Science Gallery in Trinity College, Dublin. A few of us recorded a weather report in German, which was uploaded onto YouTube. We also composed short pieces about our bit of Irish sky, which we recorded in the local community arts office and which might have been heard on ABC in Australia! Due to our participation in the project we were nominated for the Credit Union “Young People of the Year” awards. In classes we did work on Hurricane Katrina, weather reports and practical tips to save energy in German, Masks using recycled materials in Art and more on the science of weather in the Science class.

Ta súil againn go bhfuil sibh go maith agus go gcloisfimid uaibh go luath! Bis bald!

 

Is muidne le meas,

 

Daltaí na hIdirbhliana ó Choláiste de hÍde

Transition year Students from Coláiste de hÍde