A Place to Pond-er


Photo provided by Mr Aldersey

If you happened to pass by the growing hole in the ground behind the south campus building of our school, keep reading- you’re in the right place. If you haven’t, you’re in luck: we’re going to tell you a story about the ISL pond.

It all started in 2018 when Mr. Aldersey and a couple of Y12 students noticed a meadow of untended grass stretched over a large chunk of unused land. The grass was sterile, trimmed periodically, and all in all lackluster. Small flowers blossomed every now and then, but nothing inspiring was really going on there. 

“We asked ourselves ‘why don’t we do something useful and productive with this area?’,” Mr. Aldersey explained. What seemed like a plain patch of land to the rest of us, was a patch of land waiting to become a wildlife refuge for the community.

And so a vision was born. After months of student initiative and generating ideas, a garden was starting to take shape. Most of the grass was cut down and a new section of raised beds was installed by primary students. Day after day, no matter what the weather, a team of secondary students stayed to nurture the empty patch of land into a garden. Wildflowers of all colours blossomed and fruit trees sprouted out of the ground. But the service team set their eyes on something bigger.

With patience, a pile of paperwork, and the hopes to take the space to the next level, the team took on a new challenge: a pond. They spent 4 months digging each layer, creating different habitats for plants and wildlife. To fund the project, jars upon jars of ISL honey and quince jelly cooked by our very own ISL students were sold. 

After months of hard work, the growing hole is as we see it today. The latest additions include a new gravel habitat and 130 special pond plants to build a self-maintaining ecosystem. If you’re still here in a year or two, you may even be able to spot creatures like frogs, dragonflies and hedgehogs spending some downtime underneath a brand-new wooden deck for students to sit by the water (wink wink!- of course, only if you contribute to the 2000CHF goal with some ISL honey).

In the ISL community, we rarely pay attention to what true commitment can help us achieve. It may not happen all of a sudden, but the most valuable efforts are happening right under our noses. Only the best of us would come to school during the holidays to brew batches of quince jelly, or stand in freezing pond water under pouring rain to install hundreds of plants (Peter Murray, we’re looking at you). 

Whether it be by acknowledging the team’s hard work, buying a jar of ISL honey, or picking up a spade and helping out with the garden, we can all play a part in making our community a better place. Ms. Williams summed it up perfectly: “Having those moments with nature in your busy school life can be very restorative, but it’s also about the sense that lots of people collectively can create something very beautiful and peaceful.”