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Each year, Middle and High School students get an opportunity to spend one week off-campus in order to experience “real-world” learning. Here, Middle School student, Kendra, reflects on her class trip to work with the Biosphere Foundation in north Bali and learn about the connections between neighboring ecosystems, including how they can help or harm one another, through the Foundation’s “Ridge to Reef” program.

Imagine spending two years in a research facility meant to replicate our Earth’s biomes. A wave-machine powered ocean, savannah grasslands, and a 20,000 square foot rainforest, and thousands of animal and plant species bundled into a three hectare space, and your job is to attend to them everyday. This was the reality for eight individuals who led the thirty years ago. 

Present day, three of the Biospherians have come together to create the here in Bali, which us Middle School students had the chance to visit as part of our Integrated Study Unit (ISU): Finding the Balance, Becoming Better Biosphere Stewards. This ISU course offered by our teachers, Ibu Laura and Ibu Angie, centered around researching and learning about our Earth’s interconnecting natural systems.

 

One of the original Biospherians, Abigail (Gaie) hosting a Q&A session with our class.

 

Situated in the Northwest of Bali, the Biosphere Foundation is a property built in proximity to tons of different ecosystems. As soon as we arrived it was clear just how attentive to detail they were, as every environmental consideration had been thought about. There was a wastewater garden that used the roots of plants to clean all of the Foundation’s dirty water. Their electricity was made through solar and, due to having more than enough for themselves, they are able to give some of that electricity back to the community! Even the pavements we walked on were spaced out, so grass could continue growing around them. 

During these three days, our class, the Biosphere Stewards in training, had the opportunity to trek through mangroves, snorkel to observe coral, and hike up the mountains. We got to see first-hand how the ‘Ridge to Reef’ concept took place, observing how soil from the top of hills would bring sedimentation into mangroves, which then filtered everything out to reach the ocean.

 

Students collecting trash during our mangrove walk near the Biosphere Foundation.

 

Time and time again, it would be clear to us just how much trash there was. Our group found all forms of plastic attached to the roots of the many mangroves we encountered. In the sea, we weren’t even able to swim a couple meters before seeing (or bumping into) wrappers and bags. So our group participated in trashwalks and managed to collect copious amounts of the trash! 

From meeting Gaie (one of the eight Biospherians), to having the chance to meet local pioneers dedicated to this sustainability cause, we’re all so grateful to have had the opportunity to create memories and officially become Biosphere Stewards. Thank you to Ibu Laura and Ibu Angie who organized this ISU and Rosarmy, Sequoia, Ezequiel, Regia and the rest of the amazing team at the foundation that we got to meet during our stay there. 

If you’re interested in visiting the Biosphere Foundation and participating in any of their programs visit: