Being GREEN is being conscious of the effects of every action one takes.
Keep GLOBAL and GREEN as your life’s principles.
Global and Green
was a key message in the 2008 graduation speech delivered by ML Tri. Through it, he urged the Traidhos Community to be global in all its future thoughts and actions, commenting that this was the only way to bring peace and cooperation to the world.
Prem, from its conception, has been committed to making global and green core values, expressed through a commitment to operating in a sustainable and socially responsible way.
At campus planning, policy level and in practice, The Traidhos Community seeks to keep our campus, our thinking and our behaviour sustainable, thereby ensuring social responsibility to
- our students and their parents
- our employees
- the communities of which we are part
- the wider environment
Inspired by the AtKisson Compass of Sustainability*, the compass tool is used at different levels throughout the Prem campus to encourage students, staff and policy to focus not just on green, but also on global.
Encouraging a holistic view, the compass tool allows us to become aware of the interactions of each of the following dimensions:
Taking action to address climate change and conserve the natural environment
Ensuring Traidhos operates in an economically sustainable way
The importance of valuing culture and understanding and supporting the immediate and wider community
Our responsibility to care for each individual’s rights and needs
Click each compass point to open a slideshow
*The AtKisson Compass of Sustainability is one of a series of tools designed to accelerate sustainability. The tool promotes sustainability by identifying where change in a system will have the greatest impact. This is based upon instances of multi-linkages between issues concerning Nature, Economy, Society and Well-being.
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Often during community service activities, VSP students consume quite a lot of fizzy drinks and we create quite a few empty bottles to discard of.
Trying to reduce the amount of rubbish created, a group from UK learnt to make brooms from the bottles.
This was a great project that our visiting students and the local kids could work on together.
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Being a Compass School implies a commitment to live, to strategize and to provide opportunity to think sustainability across the whole institution. The portals of sustainability remind practicing schools that Operational and Support Services and Buildings and Grounds are important entry points to infuse sustainable thinking into the system of an educational community.
Traidhos Three Generation Community for Learning, Chiang Mai, the community which includes Prem Tinsulanonda International School recently enabled representatives from across the campus, including accounts, housekeeping, engineering, gardening, operations, the nurse, and administrative staff to live and work together on their educational Barge as it traveled from Ayutthaya to Bangkok.
Staff enjoyed visits to new places and the chance to get to know colleagues better – an important contribution to their well-being, but also spent time considering ways to increase sustainability using AtKisson Compass as a thinking tool. Everyone identified a personal and a departmental targets to work towards on their return to Chang Mai. We hope that working with staff connected to these two portals will accelerate our progress to becoming more sustainable at all levels of the organization.
Staff identified developing a commitment to being service- minded as central to our community. Linkages were made across the compass point showing the positive contribution service mindedness has.
When staff are happy and feel secure and valued they are more willing to support other people happily.
Beautiful grounds and good environmental practices make people feel welcome. Increased enrollment increases budget available for grounds development.
When visitors receive good service and are greeted well, they are more likely to enroll their children, generating more income.
Cooperation between departments strengthens community and creates a positive ethos that people want to be part of. Our Traidhos Community can become a role model of good practice in Chiang Mai and the wider world.
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Traidhos Visiting Schools Programs become solar water bottle advocates!
Did you know that 2012 is the International Year of Alternative Energy?
Curious as to what The International Year of Alternative Energy, this eco-friendly campaign, really means to an individual, the community and the broader world in an applicable way, the Traidhos Visiting Schools Program (VSP) sought to find a project to put it to the test. It had to be a project that could serve the hill tribe and other low-income communities that VSP works with throughout the year.
A community service project was organized in December 2011 with visiting students from King’s Academy, Jordan, to see the effects of MyShelter Foundation’s Litre of Light
initiative taking place in The Philippines. Could they prove that water and an empty plastic bottle produce daytime lighting equivalent to a 55W electric bulb and could MyShelter Foundation’s lofty goals of lighting over one million homes in 2012 come from such a simple solution?
The Solar Bottle Bulb is as simple as it sounds. It provides an innovative minimal-cost, carbon-free lighting solution made from discarded 1.5 litre plastic bottles which are filled with filtered water and a few drops of bleach and salt. The clear water refracts the sun’s rays, dispersing the light in all directions. The salt slows down evaporation and the bleach prevents mould from growing in the bottle, allowing the mixture to last about two years.
In order to make the water bottles "light up," holes are cut into the roof panels and a bottle is placed so that the lower half protrudes from the ceiling. The bottles are secured with a rubber sealant around the outer edges and filled with the water and bleach mixture. The only other ingredient needed is sunshine!
A fun task that made non-believers into believers, the students were delighted to find the solar light bottle to be a very safe, inexpensive, efficient and sustainable lighting project to provide natural light in dark homes or buildings that have few or no windows or no electricity. As a "green" solution it also promotes reuse and recycling.
As new advocates to the solar bottle bulb VSP is determined to continue spreading this sustainable method of lighting to rural communities throughout Northern Thailand. Let there be light!
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How can we help out? Let’s have a look at the kinds of houses we all live in.
Here in Thailand most people live in concrete brick houses. The concrete comes from limestone which is mined from nearby mountains. Most often in limestone mining whole mountains are removed, blasted to pieces and then ground-up and made into cement. The results are staggering: the loss of an entire mountain is quite remarkable to see. To help combat this we decided to help celebrate the International Year of Forests, and to protect mountains, by building a small sala in the middle of the Prem library using only completely sustainable materials.
We cut bamboo from our campus and used the traditional style of notching it so the pieces could slide together with minimal use of wire to hold the bamboo together. We collected teak leaf roof thatch from the local villagers who gather the leaves as they fall in this season and then weave them together into wind- and water-proof panels which are attached to the roof framework using bamboo string.
Then came the fun part! We made the walls of the sala from mud, rice straw and hard work! This technique, called wattle and daub, was enjoyed by students from EY1 all the way up to Grade 7, and found them in a tub filled with mud and a little water. This mud was mixed with their feet and then smothered over rice straw woven through a bamboo frame to make the walls. When the walls were dry we covered them with beautiful natural paint.
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As part of Prem’s commitment to "living the compass"
, every department on campus has been identifying ways to make changes to their operational procedures, looking at sustainability through the lens of Nature, Economy, Society and Well-being. The kitchen and catering departments have identified the following actions.
- Monitoring of how much farm produce goes into the cafeteria, considering what else should be planted
- Maximizing the organic farm produce goes into our cafeteria
- Male toilet fitted with six urinal bowls reducing water use
- Counter tops are cleaned with biodegradable shampoo and chlorine
- Supplies are bought from credible logistic suppliers or vendors who also supply various big food hall and hotels
- Only buy necessary stock: not having money tied up in stock, getting better fresh products
- Separating different foods in different fridges with different temperatures to save energy
- Each fridge is temperature checked daily. Cleaning the fridge happens weekly
- Alcohol gel dispensers for hand cleaning are available in cafeteria
- Food serving changed from buffet line to four hot serving pods in front of the kitchen
- Proper staff uniform with hair net, gloves while on duty
- Healthy food is served. Drive to reduce oil and sugar in food. Some cakes replaced by tropical desserts and traditional icy Thai desserts
- Several new dishes recommended from food committee and students
- Staff and management visit to observe a frozen food export factory focusing on hygiene management and procedures
- Accrediting visit by local Thai Health Ministry office to issue annual cleaning certificate
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- Getting rid of MSG
- Seasoning, sauces and kitchen supplies are good quality products, the same as those widely used in other food businesses
- Brown bread replaces white bread
- Getting away from palm Oil and moving to other oil
- Meat, pork, fish, chicken are bought from ISO producers
- Building and equipping of a butcher room with air-conditioning for proper room temperature for fresh meat
- Building separate areas to correctly separate kitchen waste and food during preparation and serving
- Providing secure, locked area for gas tank collection and storage
- Kitchen floor cleaned with proper floor cleaner and chlorine
- Annual health check for any contagious disease, preventative strategy, cure, job rotation
- Sick staff scheduled to work in other reasonable area. If suspected with H1N1 or other flu staff will not be allowed to come into the kitchen
- 100% fruit juice is served in breakfast
At Prem Tinsulanonda International School, Senior School students have many great ideas for ways to improve the environment of their school and community. Many of these ideas have been shared and implemented within the school curriculum, and through both co-curricular and extra-curricular activities using the Compass Model for Sustainability.
Within the School Curriculum
After completing a workshop on Alan AtKisson’s Sustainability Models, some of the teaching staff have begun to use a "Compass Model for Sustainability" lens on our curriculum.
Example 1: Students in Grade 8 MYP Science are required to use the compass model when approaching the issue of how to build a Sustainable Farm on a 10 rai (3.95 acres) plot. All areas of the compass model must be presented when discussing how this sustainable farm can be created.
Example 2: In an activity called Farmers and Bankers, students in Grade 9 MYP Maths use the compass model to help decide what products are needed in purchasing farm equipment, how loans are distributed and what gives the most sustainable outcome regarding simple interest rates and compound interest rates.
Example 3: IB Diploma Biology students are given the classic compass model problem on how to sustain proper fish population levels and maintain viable fishing seasons for up to ten years in a row. Using a sustainable fishing game model, students decide, in "fishing groups", how many fish will be taken each season and why that number is required regarding society needs, profit needs, impact on the environment of the fish and well-being of the fisherman’s families.
Co-curricular and Extra-curricular
Several students have now begun to implement their own take on sustainability and the Compass Model through their co-curricular activities.
In one after-school club, Roots and Shoots for a Sustainable Future, the students wanted to improve the paper recycling within our school and the surrounding community. Using the Compass Model, students devised a plan to build a paper recycling center on campus.
The primary focus of the compass model was on Nature and the impact on waste disposal sites and tree cutting, but then the other three points on the compass model were considered. The students thought of Economy and how the recycle center might employ local people near the school to work with the paper recycling center.
In guided discussions, the students thought about creating paper products, such as gift cards and boxes that would display local area artwork from Northern Thailand and displaced persons from Myanmar.
The students considered the community’s Well-being and the employment such a paper recycling center might bring to the area as well as income derived from the sales of the gift cards and boxes. In Society, the students were able to think about the impact such an operation might have on local governments and laws regarding waste removal in the community. This project is still being worked on at the planning stages.
Many important works have been completed through another club, the Environmental Club. This year Roots and Shoots for a Sustainable Future will combine with Environmental Club to have an even greater impact on global issues and the challenges of a sustainable future.
Using the Pyramid Model for decision making, the students developed a name for their new organization by collaboratively voting on various titles and what each title meant to Sustainability.
Prospective titles were presented, analyzed and discussed. In the end, the whole club decided on ‘Eco-Revolution’ as the name that best defined the philosophy of what students hope to achieve with sustainability.
On Earth-Day, 2009, Grades 8 to 12 were put into mixed groups to use the Compass Model for Sustainability to consider issues related to a real school problem: "How to reduce Energy Consumption at Prem Tinsulanonda International School?"
After using the Compass Model and creating banks of ideas about problems that contribute to energy consumption, the students used the Pyramid Model for decision making to arrive at a group agreed solution for the problems. It was a tremendous challenge to boil 180 ideas down to one solution, but within two hours and forty-five minutes, it was achieved.
Using the Compass Model for Sustainability and the Pyramid Model for decision making allowed every voice to be heard and every idea to be recorded and discussed. Eventually, a decision was reached by the student body. As a consequence of this exercise, all students from Grade 8 to Grade 12 had a say in the decision.
MYP Science and IB Biology Teacher
Prem Tinsulanonda International School
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The Traidhos Barge Program introduces the AtKisson Compass to students carrying out community investigations and river observations.
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- It allows student groups to focus research on one compass area, and reflect on whether the indicators they come up with are an asset or a concern
- It is a valuable tool to help students make links and consider the consequences of each point
- It promotes critical thinking as students consider how each compass point interacts in real life
Far away from the creature comforts of home, Qatar Academy Grade 10 students stayed in a Karen hill tribe village and discussed the impacts of tourism and globalization with the village members.
Learning that the village just got electricity a year ago was a shock to the students and they all wondered what changes it will bring in the coming years.
After a week of studying development issues in Northern Thailand, the students with guidance from the Visiting Schools Program staff used the Compass Model to look at the main assets and concerns in the village.
They then discussed how those assets and concerns are often interconnected upon all four compass points, allowing them to create a sustainable development strategy for the village that incorporated wellbeing, society, nature, and economy.
Presenting their ideas, the students found that by using the compass model they were able to look at the overwhelming issue of globalization in bite-sized pieces.
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A group of animal-loving, service oriented volunteers and students from the Prem Tinsulanonda International School in Mae Rim, Thailand working together to promote a sustainable, healthy dog population at the temples in our surrounding community.
Hand to Paw began in February 2009 as part of the after-school Exploria and Community Action Service (CAS) programs for students’ grades 5-12. This popular and successful program currently serves 6 temples and over 40 dogs and has become an important part of our temple communities.
We believe the temples are an integral part of our community and the dogs that reside within those grounds are a community responsibility. With love and care we hope to provide these homeless street dogs a secure and healthy environment in which to live.
Our long term goal is to educate both students and locals against animal cruelty and stress the importance and benefits that dog sterilizations, immunizations and basic healthcare can have on our community.
Required immunizations, sterilizations, medical and healthcare supplies and emergency medical treatments are all paid for by Hand to Paw fundraising efforts, donations from the public and the Care for Dog Foundation.
Our motto - Together, we can make a difference!
We hope to spread the word about this program so that other school or individuals around Thailand will follow our lead and adopt a temple to care for!
Hand to Paw and the Compass Model
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Small communities such as the rural villages that surround Prem can only sustain the well-being of street dogs on a very small scale. Village pet owners need to be made aware that sterilization of their female dogs will help prevent pregnancies that would further increase the animal population in their village. Neglect, abuse, malnutrition, pregnancy and disease are but a few of the negative impacts on nature if over-breeding is allowed to continue unabated.
To promote a sustainable, healthy dog population, students from Prem work together in fundraising projects and care for the dogs on a weekly basis. Students see directly what their efforts are achieving. A hands-on commitment to a handful of dogs will raise not only community awareness, but a personal awareness that we hope will spread to other encounters in their lives with animal welfare. Immunizations, neutering or spaying and supplies are paid through by the efforts of students’ fund-raising and donations from the public.
The concept of the program has been favorably accepted by the Luang Por (head abbott) and novice monks from the temples, along the village elders and residents of Baan Nongplaman, Huay Sai and Mae An and continues to gather interest from Prem students, teachers and parents. This community effort has benefited relationships with the local villages and Prem. The long-term goal is to provide continued education to the villages about dog sterilization, the importance of vaccinations and basic pet health care, thus revealing the beneficial and sustainable effects that this will have on their community. Hand to Paw student volunteers have a commitment to be personally responsible for maintaining the health and well-being of over 40 dogs in six community temples.
The neuter-return project can save lives and reduce over-population of dogs in these temple communities. Whether it is for food, lack of knowledge and money, medical care, or simple basic love and attention, the temple is unable to look after the continuing increase of its dog population. The sterilization program is effective not only on the grounds of animal welfare, but if carried out on an increasingly larger scale entire communities will experience the environmental and social impact. Villagers will feel secure that they will not be bothered by an abundance of unhealthy stray dogs and will have a cleaner place to live, worship and play.
This Prem Sustainability club follows Jane Goodall's International organization called Roots and Shoots
whose projects and ideas seem to follow the compass model.
We recently secured our membership in the international organization and have been posting our ideas for sustainable projects at Prem on their global blog/website.
Our big project – one that we have been working on for more than a year - has to do with building a paper recycling center for Prem and the surrounding communities.
After brainstorming we came up with the following ideas:
- Our Nature idea of the compass model is the obvious recycling of paper
- Our Society idea is to hopefully get laws changed about recycling in the area and to educate people both at Prem and in the area
- Our Economy idea is to take the recycled paper from the center and make products from the paper recycled that can be sold on-line and locally with artwork from the region. We would hope some of the people in the village could work at the recycle center and eventually be paid by the proceeds from the sale of paper products. This is very similar to the elephant dung paper projects seen in other parts of Thailand
- Well-being would of course come in the form of accomplishing the other three points on the compass
We have made a lot of progress. There has been agreement from the Head of School and the Business Manager to build the recycling center, and the President Emeritus has agreed to help in meeting with village elders in presenting the idea and finding those villagers who would be willing work at the recycling center.
A potential sponsor liked the idea when it was presented to some of their representatives at a conference, and after the people working at the center have been paid, excess proceeds would go to displaced or economically challenged persons for the cost of education.
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The Rio+20 Outcome Document, The Future We Want
"234. We strongly encourage educational institutions to consider adopting good practises in sustainability management on their campuses and in their communities with the active participation of inter alia students, teachers, and local partners, and teaching sustainable development as an integrated component across disciplines."
At Traihdos Three Generation Community we are continually embracing these ideas, building sustainability into the Prem curriculum, working with local experts and learning from local organisations, and strategically planning for sustainability in all aspects of the Traihos operation, using the AtKisson Compass Model as a thinking tool.
As a founding member of Compass Schools Network, we are pleased to support the operation of Compass Education, through the support of a Compass Schools staff.
An adaptation of the Alan AtKisson Compass Model is presented below.
Extracted originally from: The Asia-Pacific Program of Educational Innovation for Development Annual Conference Bangkok, Thailand, 6-8 December 2006: An Introduction to the AtKisson Accelerator Suite of Multi-stakeholder Sustainable Development Learning, Training, Planning and Assessment Tools
Nature refers to the ecological systems and natural resources
Economy is the process by which resources are put to work to produce the things and services that humans want and need
Society is the collective and institutional dimension of human civilization, incorporating everything from governments to school systems to social norms regarding equity and opportunity
Well-Being refers to satisfaction and happiness of individual people -- their health, their primary relationships, and the opportunities they have to develop their full potential.
The challenge to minimise our ecological footprint has been well-documented. While this challenge is a global one, within our local community and school this same challenge creates unprecedented demands for learning, thinking, planning and decision-making in our students.
We are committed to building relationships, trust, discipline and a mutual understanding in working together towards the sustainability ideal.
Students gain a first-hand understanding of the essential "systems approach" of the Compass Model by working with all departments within our school, as well as with various community groups.
Please take the time to look at the various initiatives highlighted on our website in their different stages of completion highlighted on our website and we would be pleased to receive any comments or suggestions you may have.
Traidhos Sustainability Committee
Floor cleaner from pineapple peel
For cleaning, EM is good at breaking down organic matter, so fat and oils that stick to or clog the pipes get cleaned up. EM is very active in reducing bad smells: by spraying an EM solution on the source of the smell, it will fade away within thirty minutes.
Fruit and vegetable peels from cafeteria are collected and brought to the farm, where most of it is used for feeding the animals and adding into the vermi-compost, but the pineapple peel is separated and used to make Pineapple EM: a floor cleaner and dishwashing liquid. The finished product then returns to the cafeteria for their cleaning activity.
EM Soil Enhancer
EM is a group of effective micro-organisms cultured by fermenting a mixture of fruit or vegetables with sugar in an anaerobic (without oxygen) environment.
EM can be use for multi purposes especially in farming and gardening: EM acts as natural fertiliser as it helps to improve soil quality and produces minerals and plant hormones. EM speeds-up the decomposing process turning organic matter into compost in a shorter time then normal compost, resulting in a fertile compost which is good for plants and soil.
The Three-Generation Farm has been using EM for six months to enhance the soil quality and crop production. We use fruit and vegetable waste from the cafeteria to make EM, and we get students to collect lemons on the farm to make EM as part of their learning. By this way our organic waste is not wasted any more.
First Biodiesel truck on Traidhos Campus
Biodiesel is a form of diesel fuel manufactured from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease. It is safe, biodegradable, and produces fewer air pollutants than petroleum-based diesel.
Recycling the used cooking oil into biodiesel is the answer for demonstrates efficiency and is an environmentally friendly way to use the old cooking oil our cafeteria produces every day.
On 12 March 2013 we tested Traidhos-produced biodiesel in the tractor used for cutting grass and pulling heavy materials. The engine reacted well with biodiesel, and the tractor ran smoothly. We were all happy and excited to see the outcome. The first biodiesel vehicle on the Traidhos campus is underway to take us another step closer to living and working sustainability.
Dish washing from lemon EM
Lemons grown at the farm are collected and sent to the cafeteria to make lemonade or snacks. However, lemons that have been attacked by insects and are not food quality can be used to make EM. Students collect the fruit on the ground and use it to make EM. Lemon EM is good for dishwashing as it has acidic property. Cafeteria staff and Prem housekeeping staff now use lemon EM dishwashing liquid.
The cafeteria staff clean over 200 glasses every day. We interviewed them about the use of EM"
Khun Bua said, "I like using it because it cleans the glasses well, it’s good for my hands and good for the environment."
Pa Ooi, "Before we used quite strong detergent for washing the glass, and the skin on my hands peeled off. I didn’t like it but now when we use this EM washing liquid I don’t have that problem any more and the glasses are clean."
Khun Ning, Head of Housekeeping says her staff use the farm’s EM floor cleaner, and that, "My staff like using it. Floors are clean and shiny and we are happy to use it."
A range of Traidhos-made shampoo has appeared at Community Market. It uses only natural ingredients. Whilst this means that it is not bubbly, it has a great smell and is totally free form chemicals.
Kaffir Lime Shampoo and Conditioner
Chemical free, 100% natural shampoo and conditioner which contains fresh kaffir lime fruit. It softens and makes your hair thick and shiny and protects against dandruff and hair loss. The essential oil in kaffir lime fruit makes you feel good and relaxed.
Ingredients: Kaffir lime fruit, Mee leaf, water
Produced: 27 Feb. 2513 Best before: 27 Feb.2514
In March 2013, a fleet of "banana bikes" was launched.
The shared Traidhos community resource is designed to remind people to use renewable energy, such a pedal power, and to promote personal fitness and enjoyment of the Traihdos Campus for anyone who would like to borrow a bike.
Traidhos Three-Generation Community Created Wetland
The idea for the created wetland came from trying to solve a problem.
One day when VSP staff and students were building rafts near the cafeteria, the students commented that the water seemed quite dirty and green.
We discovered that some of the grey water from the residential buildings fed into the lake. The high levels of soaps from students showering increased the nutrient content in the lake and promoted the growth of algae and other matter.
VSP staff wanted to do something about the problem. Research showed that some plant species act as natural filters. We met with Ajarn Suwasa from Chiang Mai University who advised us that by creating a wetland environment we could sustainably clean the grey water before it entered the lake. Ajarn Suwasa also advised that a new wetland would also provide a habitat to increase biodiversity on the campus.
VSP staff Matthew Matziel drew up a plan that K Sakchai amended, to allow grey water to pass through a series of plant beds before feeding into the lake. Advice was also sort from Commonwealth School Singapore who have already created a similar wetland in their school grounds.
Work has now started on the new wetland and a further progress report will be issued in due course.
- Change to trial using non-chemical insect and rodent protection (EWN)
- Local vendor supplying affordable lunch to grounds workers (WE)
- Workshops held about sustainability for each department introducing the Compass (SW)
- Survey into aircon usage behaviour (EN)
- Consideration of partnering with 2- b -Green and Ministry of energy to invest in biogas chamber to manage
- kitchen waste and create compost and cooking gas.(EN)
- Partnership with Isaac to provide weekly organic vegetable boxes (WSN)
- Community market ( monthly) inviting local organizations to promote their goods and projects (SW)
- Consideration of building a created wetland to filter on campus grey water(N)
- Community plots made available on the farm for community members (NW)
- Discussion about tree replanting campaign on campus (N)
- Beginnings of a wellness program set up for community members (W)
Prem students. Various curriculum links including:
- In house workshop about using the Compass as a thinking tool (S)
- Traidhos signed MOU to host a Compass Schools intern working with Compass Education (S)
- G5 campaign to ban foam on container and use sugar cane packaging instead (N)
- G4 energy efficient school buildings project (N)
- Earth Day celebration (WS)
- Collection of tetra pak boxes for recycling to roof tiles (NS)
- Xxxx hours and xxxx B donated to local projects and programs (SW)
- Stocking traditional locally made snacks along side commercial chips (WS)
- No plastic bags (N)
- Introduced pay extra for reusable container or bring your own container– no foam policy (N)
- No foam containers used at PSA events, paper plates or bio-plates instead (N)
- Installation of solar water heater recycled from old metal drinks bottles (EN)
- Flower beds made from old car tyres (WE)
- Creation of vermiculture unit (N)
- Production of EM (N)
- Managed production of compost (N)
- Networking with WWoofrs (SE)
- Community service initiatives by visiting schools donating xxx days and xxx baht to community projects (SW)
- Working with local villagers for crafts and dance activities (S)
- Installation of solar bottle lights in building projects in villages (EW)
- Sponsored camp day for Thai employees children (WS)
- Fans installed to boarding lounge, air con no longer used for much of year (E)
Prem is an amazing a campus for observing wildlife, with ponds and reeds, flowing rivers, native and ornamental tree species, farmland, neighbouring rice paddies and cultivated gardens and fields.
As the seasons change, students and visitors cannot fail to notice migratory winter birds nesting, chicks from year-round residents and the presence of different butterflies, snakes and beetles.
These links introduce you to some of the creatures which make Prem Tinsulanonda International School their home.
The White-Rumped Shama makes its home in bamboo forests that can be found growing all over Thailand. The males are black with an orange chest, white on the underside of the tail, and big beautiful black eyes, while the females are more greyish in color and quite a bit smaller.
The White-Rumped Shama is a very shy bird and is typically seen during the hours of dawn and dusk. Although this is a very shy species of bird, they are usually quite approachable and allow you to capture a good photo or two before they fly away.
The White-Rumped Shama is famous for its singing which made them quite popular as cage birds all across Southeast Asia. They feed manly on insects in the wild, but in captivity feed on boiled and dried legumes with egg yolk and dried meat.
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- The nest is made solely by the female while the male stands guard
- The males and females share a territory while in the breeding season, but occupy territory alone while not in breeding season
- The first recording of this birds call was made in 1889 using an Edison Wax Cylinder
- They lay a clutch of four or five light blue eggs with brown blotches and incubate them for twelve to fifteen days
The Banded Ox-Frog is a small very colorful frog and can be found in wetlands, along riverbanks, near the edge of forests, or even in your shower.
The male is just a tiny bit smaller than the female and it is almost impossible to tell the difference between them just by looking at them. This frog is completely harmless and like the puffer fish, it will inflate its body to make itself look a lot bigger when it is threatened.
The Banded Ox-Frog breeds in seasonal rain pools during the rainy season. After a good rainfall you will be able to hear hundreds of these little frogs all singing in unison during the night. These frogs are nocturnal and spend their days hiding in their burrows or under vegetation.
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- This frog is very adaptable and is increasing in numbers quite rapidly
- This frog preys on ants and other small insects
- This frog can secrete a noxious (extremely unpleasant tasting) sticky substance when threatened, although it is non-toxic
- Males give their calls at night as they are floating on top of the water
The Thailand Black Tarantula is a beautiful member of the tarantula species, but it is an Old World tarantula. This means that it does not have urticating hairs to flick at you, so its venom is extra potent and is extremely aggressive.
Look at this guy from a distance, but do not touch him! This spider is often seen as a pest but it is actually the opposite: eating small rodents and a variety of insects, it does a lot more good than it does harm!
The Thailand Black Tarantula is a very shy species and spends most of its day hiding out in its underground burrow. Consider yourself lucky if you see this tarantula outside its burrow as it only comes out for an hour or two in the evenings to hunt for food!
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- Males only live two – four years while females can live up to twelve years
- This species can grow up to six inches or fifteen centimetres in length
- The people of Cambodia and the people of North East Thailand like to eat this tarantula
- This spider lays an egg sac with anywhere between 75 and 200 eggs in it
The Giant Wood Spider is one of the largest (true) spiders in Thailand and the world! Its web can stretch up to six meters long in between trees and can easily be walked through if one is not paying attention.
This spider belongs to the Golden Orb Weaver family and has the strongest webbing of any spider, even strong enough to catch small bats and birds.
The female Giant Wood Spider can reach up to 20 cms in length; however, the male is tiny and is only a fraction of the size of the female. The male lives on the web with the female and steals food from her. After mating, the female digs a burrow in the ground to lay her massive clutch of eggs.
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- The Giant Wood Spider can lay up to 2900 eggs per egg sac
- Largest and strongest web of any spider species
- Mild venom for hunting insects, but harmless to humans
- The Giant Wood Spider is very colorful: white, black, red, yellow and blue colors make up the pattern of this spider
The Golden Tree Snake
is one of the most beautiful snakes in Thailand. They are also known as Flying Snakes due to their exceptional gliding abilities! The Golden Tree Snake is unmistakable and are generally a bright green color with a black chequered pattern on it.
Although this snake is said by most to be non-venomous, the truth is it actually is a venomous snake and has rear fangs in the back of their mouth - not like most venomous snakes with front fangs. However, while there is nothing to be worried about with this snake as the venom is not strong enough to do any serious harm to humans, it should be left alone if spotted. Active only during the daytime, you do not have to worry about one of these snakes crawling up into your bed with you in the middle of the night.
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- This snake can leap from tree to tree just like gliding squirrels or lizards
- The favorite food of this snake is the Tokay Gecko
- At full maturity the Golden Tree Snake can reach 5 feet (150cm) in length
- The Golden Tree Snake will make a home anywhere it deems suitable, including inside your apartment
- This snake is most commonly seen sunning itself on the side of the road on a bright sunny day
Yikes! What is that?!
The Huntsman spider is one of the largest true spiders in the world (this does not include tarantulas) and can be found world-wide. This particular species of Huntsman is the Giant Huntsman Spider and it is the largest Huntsman Spider species in the world - it can get close to thirty centimetres in length.
The Huntsman Spider favours brown shaded areas such as wood and sand so they can easily blend into their surroundings. Although this spider looks absolutely terrifying, it is quite harmless to humans and is much more beneficial than problematic when it comes to them living inside your house!
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- The Huntsman spider does not build webs to catch its prey; it waits patiently for something to walk by and ambushes it
- Huntsman spiders love to eat your household pests, especially cockroaches
- Huntsman spiders have been known to eat things the same size or sometimes bigger than themselves, including mice
- The Huntsman spider comes in many shapes and sizes and has roughly 1009 separate species making up their family, the Sparassidae Family
Peek-a-boo I see you!
The Brown Stream Terrapin is also commonly referred to as the Asian Leaf Turtle. This turtle can be identified by its rounded carapace or shell and can grow to be about 25cm in length.
The Brown Stream Terrapin can be found in almost any pond or river around Thailand, but tend to avoid anything that moves too quickly as this species of turtle is not a very strong swimmer. It would much rather walk freely along the bottom of a body of water than have to swim through it. Adults tend to spend most of their time at night on land and move to the water during the day when it is much hotter outside.
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- The Brown Stream Terrapin is a true omnivore, eating both meat such as frogs or fish as well as eating fruit and vegetation
- The shell of this turtle has jagged edges on the back to help defend itself from becoming a tasty snack to a predator
- Part of the turtle’s generic name is "Cyclemys" which means circle turtle
- The Vietnamese Leaf Turtle is a close relative of the Asian Leaf Turtle and both are often mistaken for one another
The Oriental Magpie Robin
is a fascinating bird that can be spotted all over the Chiang Mai area, as well as throughout the rest of Thailand. This bird is most common during the morning hours of the day and can be easily spotted on the roadside sitting on a post singing for your enjoyment.
The Oriental Magpie Robin is a fairly small bird, similar in size to a European Blackbird and occupies a similar niche to its estranged relative. The Oriental Magpie Robin can be found in parks, gardens, open land, grasslands and along the forest edge but best of all can be found on your lawn, hopping around flipping its tail around while it forages for invertebrates to snack on.
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- The Magpie Robin is highly territorial and is not scared to put up a fight with any other bird species, including its own
- The Magpie Robin breeds between January and June in Thailand and can be found nesting in tree hollows or small holes in the side of a building
- This bird is the national bird of Bangladesh
- The Magpie Robin is particularly well known for its songs and was once popular as cage birds
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s an Atlas Moth
The Atlas Moth is the largest moth in the world growing up to 30cm in length! The Atlas Moth is generally maroon in color with white triangular "eye" shaped marks on the wings to help keep predators away.
The female Atlas Moth releases powerful pheromones into the air which the males can detect from several kilometres away with their giant feathery antennae. This moth lays her eggs underneath the leaves of only a select few citrus trees and other evergreens that can be found all over Thailand. The Atlas Moth eggs take about two weeks to hatch and it takes them about four weeks to emerge into the Atlas Moth after it has wrapped itself up nice and snug inside its cocoon.
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- The cocoons of the Atlas Moth larvae are sold as purses in Taiwan
- Atlas Moths are said to be named after either the Titan of Greek Mythology, or their map-like wing patterns
- The Atlas Moth is also known as the Snake Head Moth because the tips of its wings look like the head of a snake
- The Atlas Moth does not possess fully formed mouthparts and throughout their full adult life, do not feed: they survive entirely on larval fat reserves that they build up while they are caterpillars
Croak, squeak, chirp, squawk, click, and whistle!!
These are just some of the various noises that you may hear coming from one of these funny birds, the Common Myna Bird!
The Common Myna Bird is one of the most successful bird species on the planet and can be found almost all over the world. Despite these birds’ goofy antics, most people see it as a pest. If you leave food on your plate un-attended at the canteen, a group of these guys are sure to try and steal all the good stuff off of your plate.
The Common Myna loves to spend its time foraging through the grass for grasshoppers, so much in fact that its generic name "Acridotheres" means "Grasshopper Hunter."
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- Common Mynas are believed to pair for life and stay with the same mate forever
- The Myna spends more time singing than it does eating every day
- The Myna will make its nest out of almost anything it can get its talons on including grass, weeds, roots, twigs, garbage, tinfoil, tissue paper and even snake skin
- The Myna lays between four to six eggs and it only takes about two weeks for them to hatch
- Before the Myna goes to sleep all of the Mynas in communion sing in unison which is known as "Communal Noise!"
If it is not a cicada that you hear at night making this deafening buzzing noise, it is most defiantly one of these giant grasshopper-looking bugs, a Katydid!
The Giant Katydid looks a bit scary, but they are very gentle bugs that stay motionless during the day to hide from trouble. By night time they become very active either hunting for food or trying to attract a mate. Katydids are related to grasshoppers so they look similar, but the long antennae and leaf-like appearance of the wings are the characteristics that distinguish them from their look-a-like relatives.
Where can I find one?
Finding one during the day can prove to be quite a challenge, but if you go out at night to look for one of these creatures it will not be hard at all! Just follow your ears. More than likely you will find them inside a bush or sitting on top amongst the leaves, so get your flashlight and go looking.
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- The Katydid family contains over 6,400 species
- The male Giant Katydid has sound-producing organs on the hind of their wings which they use to create sound by rubbing them together
- It is believed to be one of the loudest insects on the planet
- The female is equipped with a long sword-like egg-laying organ which they use to lay their eggs inside rotting wood
There’s nothing worse than hearing the sound of a snail crunching as you take a step, along with the instant guilt you feel knowing you’ve just, accidentally, destroyed that snail’s future. But take a look at this month’s Creature Feature animal and you’ll really hope you never experience stepping on one of these giant creatures during your stay at Traidhos.
The Giant Land Snail, often seen peacefully sliding across the pathway, looks quite used to this lifestyle but actually they originate from Africa. So did the Giant Land Snail slither all the way to Thailand, or just how did it get here?
First introduced to Thailand in the hope of breeding and eating this big beast, entrepreneurs didn’t quite realise just how well these snails would breed. With the additional ability of adapting to their new environment rapidly, Giant Land Snails have quickly populated various areas and habitats within Thailand and are now known across the world as one of the top 100 invasive species.
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- Adults can reach up to 20 cms long and 7 cms tall
- Their lifespan is around six years but some snails are been recorded living up to the age of ten
- In the USA it is illegal to be found in possession of a Giant Land Snail
- Native to East Africa - Kenya and Tanzania
- Diet includes plant matter, fruits and vegetables
- Across the world people keep Giant Land Snails as pets
- Every snail has the ability to be both male or female
- In parts of Brazil, Giant Land Snails are given as an offering to the Obatala God
- Each snail can reproduce up to 200 eggs in one clutch, usually laying five or six clutches a year. That’s up to 1,200 babies from just one snail every year, or 7,200 baby snails produced within one adult’s lifespan! Now that’s a lot of snails!
Some people call them the fire engines of the forest; others just find their loud calling irritating.
Whether you know it or not, you have surely heard one of these insects, or more likely many of them calling at once, if you spent any time at Prem in the last few weeks. They make a high-pitched noise, starting with one insect until all of their friends join in for a cacophony of sound.
How do they make that noise? And why?
- The sound is made by vibrating a pair of ribbed plates in amplifying cavities at the base of the abdomen
- The males of each species make their distinctive noise to attract a mate. Of all the bugs on the planet, cicadas are the loudest, with sound able to travel a mile
- Of all the species of cicada, each makes its own noise. Females are able to distinguish between the sounds, even though they are very similar
- Different species can be heard at different times of the day. While some prefer mating during the day, others prefer the evening hours
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Cicadas spend most of their lives as nymphs underground. This may be as long as seventeen years. After morphing into adults, some cicadas live two to three weeks while others live only for a less than a day or two
- The female cicada can lay four hundred to six hundred eggs
- After the adults have mated both will die
Have you heard this noise coming from your backyard? Chances are you’ve got one of these creatures hiding in the trees, or maybe even clinging to your house, waiting for night to fall and feeding time to begin.
Their favourite foods include cockroaches, crickets, and small vertebrates such as mice.
Where can you find a Tokay?
As a nocturnal lizard, your best chances of spotting one of these are at night when they are active. It is native to rainforest trees and cliffs; however, they have adapted to an urban lifestyle where they occupy ceilings, walls, and lamp posts.
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- Lifespan: seven to ten years in the wild, up to twenty years in captivity
- They do not have eyelids and they use their long tongue to clean their eyes
- Their tail is used to store fat, and it will break off the gecko is threatened. The wiggling of the discarded tail distracts the enemy, allowing the gecko to escape. A new tail grows back in several months, but it is always smaller than the original tail
- Males are very territorial, and will fight other males to keep their home area guarded for food and rights to females
Have you ever seen a big black beetle tied to a piece of sugar cane?
If you haven't yet, keep your eyes peeled because beetle fighting season is on its way!
Many local Thai boys will find a big rhinoceros beetle and keep it as their "pet." Then, after school, they will ride around the village with their prize bug and have battle of the beetles to see who picked the strongest creature.
What are they?
The rhinoceros beetle is the common name that encompasses a wide array of species. In Northern Thailand, there are several species crawling through the forest, the rice paddies, or just cruising along the sidewalks here at Prem. They come in different shapes and sizes and all have a tough outer shell to keep them safe from predators and other rhino beetles.
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- Super-strength: these beetles can carry up to 850 times their own body weight! This makes them the strongest animal on land, proportional to their size. That's like a 60 kg person carrying 51,000 kg!
- Their common name refers to the giant horn that emerges from the beetles head. These horns are used to battle for territory and, for males, mating rights with female beetles. The size and number of horns varies greatly between species, ranging from one to five horns.
- They are an important part of the ecosystem as they help recycle decaying plant material back into the soil by eating away at fallen leaves and rotting trees.