Seed from Space: The story behind the collaboration with UNESCO Hong Kong Association
Perfectly matches our school motto, “to align with science and technology”, we recently launched an experiential learning programme on sustainable development by planting seeds from space with the help of Americana Chen, an alumna of Class 2020. The initiative enriched the students’ awareness of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and enhanced the students’ enthusiasm for the latest space technology. We have talked to Americana to learn more about the story behind the collaboration with UNESCO Hong Kong Association.
Q: What’s the background story behind the collaboration with UNESCO Hong Kong Association?
Americana: Having a strong passion for sustainable development, I have been helping out in UNESCO Hong Kong Association for a few years. UNESCO Hong Kong Association’s core value and mission are to promote sustainable development in Hong Kong mainly through education, scientific and cultural approaches align well with mine.
When I was still studying at YCIS, I engaged with them as a volunteer for events such as the 9.21 Peace Day Celebration. Since then, I have always wanted YCIS to become part of the member school network of the UNESCO Hong Kong Association to take part in their programmes further. After graduation, I had the opportunity to join UNESCO Hong Kong Association as an intern/student affairs representative, which allowed me to reach out to YCIS to facilitate collaboration.
Q: What’s “Space-exposed Seeds”, and what makes the seed different from others?
Americana: Space-exposed Seeds are seeds that have travelled into space with the astronauts and brought back to the Earth. Observing the outcomes from schools that have been enrolled in this project for many years, the space-exposed seeds yields much longer or larger plants. There could be some genetic mutations that have occurred or other kinds of explanations, and that is what we would like the students to research and find out about it.
Q: How our fellow students could benefit from this project?
Americana: The project encourages cross-disciplinary and experiential learning. For example, observing and researching growing them are related to biology, chemistry, and Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS), an IB Diploma Programme subject.
The data collected can be used in Mathematic projects. Students could carry out data analysis by changing different environmental parameters. Furthermore, this also raises awareness of food scarcity, biodiversity and climate change issues, closely related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of 2, 13, and 15.
Q: Any story you’d love to share with us on top of the above?
Americana: I think education for sustainable development is the building block to set the foundation for building a more sustainable future. The younger generation needs to be empowered to drive changes. Therefore I believe that embedding concepts of sustainable development according to the SDGs into school curriculums is critical. It shouldn’t just be treated as an extracurricular activity; teachers training, students’ interest and knowledge, school’s action and values should all work simultaneously under ambitious goals to build a more resilient younger generation.
Americana is also the author of “Hi17 SDG: Sustainable Development Goals in the Dynamic World”, providing readers with a comprehensive overview of the 17 Sustainable Development. For more information, please click here http://hiesd.org/wp/isbn-978-988-75669-1-5/
 The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership.