At Leysin American School, we support the next generation of problem solvers as they address global environmental challenges through entrepreneurial thinking, creativity, and innovation.
The Leysin American School Alpine Institute carries out a number of environmental initiatives and events such as LETS (Local Elevation Transect Survey) Day. LETS Day is an ongoing project in which students work in teams to examine and record how ecology changes from the valley to the summit of our mountain. LETS is a citizen science programme where the students collect environmental data such as inaturalist (an open source nature data network) , decomposition data and tree survey data.
During our annual student-led science conference, Earth Expo (formerly GLOBE Day), student share innovative and environmentally-focused projects in a professional conference setting that includes keynote speakers and diverse breakout sessions. At this conference, young people from LAS, and schools in our region, present projects and research on everything from the global climate crisis, to sustainable fashion. In recent years, LAS has welcomed a half dozen regional international schools who have brought over 60 students and teachers to share their work and be inspired by others. Our students hone their critical thinking skills as they focus on solving global environmental issues in a collaborative, welcoming environment. During the 2020 GLOBE Day conference, our students even voted on an environmentally friendly project they would like to implement at school. Together they decided to limit campus vehicle usage by building e-bikes for community use! LAS also runs the online TED-Countdown talks, which are climate-focused and give students an opportunity to participate in real-world environmental problem solving.
Under Project Drawdown (100 researched solutions to combat climate change and reverse it globally by 2050), LAS is home to a mini ecosystem. We tend to beehives, cultivate a summer garden, and take care of chickens—all on campus! This Community Garden provides many opportunities for students to engage in kinesthetic learning and discover more about the interaction of different ecosystems. Three beehives on campus give students an opportunity to learn about pollination, the decline of bee populations in the world due to new pesticides, and the positive effect bees have on human food sources. Students plant trees, grow food, keep chickens, and manage grassland. We are introducing silvopasture for grazing, and we plant using permaculture principles.
The aim of the garden is to educate students to minimize waste, grow food, compost, recycle, and understand ecosystems and the impact of humans can have on them.
Check out our intern-created video on Citizen Science at LAS on the left!
The Drawdown 'Climate Changers' group is an activity where students can design and implement projects to improve the environmental impact of the school, with the goal of reducing our carbon footprint. Students have completed projects such as a trial of 'meat free days' as they work with chef Fabrice and Stuco (our Student Council group) to support plant-based diets. The Climate Changers group also initiatives and advertises Walk to school campaigns and Green Machines activities to reduce taxi and car use through e-bike use.