Welcome to our May E-zine!
May was a hugely exciting time for Green-Schools with over 1100 Green Flags awardedto schools at a number of ceremonies around the country! May also saw 10 secondary schools being awarded the Neat-Streets Anti-Litter Award at a cermony in Dublin. National Walk to School Week 2012 was held this month and was another brilliant success! In this issue of the Green-Schools E-zine you can find out more about these great events as well as information regarding upcoming events including Bike Week 2012 and National COW (Cycle on Wednesday) Day, as well as details of our Teacher Training Summer Courses. Remember to keep up-to-date with all our news and activities through our website, Twitter and Facebook account!
Green-Schools Awards 2012!
This May will see the number of Irish schools flying the Green Flag exceed 2500 as over 1100 schools travel to Green-Schools Award Ceremonies around the country. 262 schools will be awarded their first Green Flag in reward for their work on the Litter and Waste Theme and 861 schools will be successfully renewing their Green Flag under the themes of Energy, Water, Travel, Biodiversity and Global Citizenship. The Green-Schools programme continues to grow at a remarkable rate with over 3600 schools now registered with the programme, representing over 88% of all schools in Ireland! More >>
National Walk to School Week 2012
An Taisce's Green-Schools National Walk to School Week 2012 took place from 21-25 May 2012. Public Transport Minister, Alan Kelly TD launched the Week in Naí Scoil Íde in Raheny where Junior pupils put their best foot forward with a “Bling your Boot” event. National Walk to School Week is a country-wide initiative which aims to encourage thousands of pupils, their parents and teachers across Ireland to walk, cycle, use public transport or carpool and highlights the benefits of active travel to and from school. This year, it is hoped to achieve a target of 20,000 pupils walking to school on National Walk on Wednesday Day (23 May 2012). An Taisce Green-Schools Travel programme, which focuses on promoting sustainable travel on the school run, has been operating nationally since September 2008. The travel theme is funded by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and supported by the National Transport Authority. The programme is delivered through An Taisce’s successful Green-Schools programme, known internationally as Eco-Schools, in partnership with Local Authorities. More>>
Neat Street Awards Ceremony
On the 25th May students from 10 secondary schools across Leinster were presented with the Neat Streets anti-litter award by Fergus O’Dowd Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. The schools were acknowledged for their achievements in reducing litter at school and in their local communities. The schools have made great progress in addressing litter in their schools by developing and adopting various different and innovative approaches to reducing litter and littering, such as; making art from litter, designing anti-litter websites, videoing progress, organising school clean-up events, holding litter action days, teaming up with other schools, promoting litter awareness and encouraging recycling of litter and waste. More>>
Killaloe GNS help TidyTowns identify Litter Hotspots
Killaloe GNS recently used their Green-Schools skills to help TidyTowns organise their National Spring Clean event. Already experts in the art of auditing and recycling, they extended their skills beyond the school gate to help tidy towns identify litter hotspots across Killaloe/Ballina. Under the direction of the Green-Committee, students were asked to keep an eye out for litter hotspots around their locality and along their journeys to school. Each diligently kept a note of what they found and then added their information to a giant map of the village during an interactive session with the coordinator. This was then used to direct volunteers for the Ballina/Killaloe National Spring Clean. Well done Killaloe GNS!
Greening It Up in Rathkeale, Co. Limerick
St. Annes National School in Rathkeale Co. Limerick are pushing ahead as Green-School Leaders in the county. Innovation and dedication are key words for this school, which are due to be awarded their fifth Green-Flag for Biodiversity on May 17th 2012. As you walk through the school halls you can see that everything about the school is Green! As you enter there are plants, recycling points, charts, reminders, projects...they even have a Green-Schools Resource corner complete with a ‘lucky box’ which is visited weekly by the nominated ‘green-achievers’ i.e. best walker, best recycler etc. Charlotte O Brien, the schools long-term coordinator has done an amazing job of maintaining each of the themes and promoting the integration of Green-Schools into normal school routine. 2011 saw a few sparkling additions to the school, the first is a Green-Schools mural which marks the schools dedication to the programme The second is the Green-Schools Garden. Formerly a blank space covered in concrete, the Green-Schools Garden is now a bright and colourful place with bird boxes, mini-ponds, vegetable patches complete with another magnificent garden mural which was done by parents. Every child in the school is growing a plant for the garden and they are also holding a major Green-Schools Jumble sale to raise funds for their projects and a nominated charity. Well done St. Annes!
Brilliant Biodiversity in Kilcornan NS!
Kilcornan NS was the first school in Limerick to be awarded their Travel Flag in 2010 for outstanding work to promote sustainable travel and road safety. Two years on, they have proved once again that they most certainly have the Green-Factor! The school moved onto Biodiversity in September 2010 and quickly set about constructing an action plan to enhance and promote biodiversity in their school. To assist them in their efforts the older classes created a 3d model of their school where they inserted each new habitat addition as it came to pass i.e. log piles, vegetable patches, bird ponds, flower boxes, mini ponds etc. Each species group was examined in detail where students undertook extensive projects on birds, bees, trees and mammals, food chains and more. One of the strongest parts of their Biodiversity Project was their recording skills, they had notebooks detailing bird observations and bird counts, counts of what they found in the yard, constant monitoring of their log pile for new additions. As a rural school they are surrounded by nature & Biodiversity, as a rural school involved in the Green-Schools Biodiversity theme they have most certainly gone above and beyond where continuous improvement is always on the card despite achievements.
More Success for Green Home Schools!
Niamh and Dorothy from the Green Home programme would like to extend a huge thanks to the Principals, Green-Schools coordinators and most of all the parents and pupils from the seven schools who were awarded their Green Home flag at the recent Green-Schools ceremonies. Each school participated on the Green Home programme for two years working both in the school and at home on the themes of waste, energy, water and transport. Green Home participants find out ways to reduce household waste, use energy and water more prudently and learn about sustainable transport options. Did you know that in Ireland we throw out up to one third of the food we buy, you could save up to €1,000 per year; 9% of our yearly electricity bill is made up of items on standby mode; a tap leaking 30 drops per hour can add up to nearly 5, 000 litres of water in one year; and you can save up to 4% of your yearly petrol costs by ensuring the correct tyre pressure. The success of the Green Home programme depends on a partnership approach between, the schools, the households, An Taisce, the local authorities and funding from the Environmental Protection Agency.
The schools awarded are:
St Brigids National School, The Coombe, Dublin 8;
De La Salle Boys primary school, Kildare Town, Co Kildare;
St Kevin’s National School, Tara Hill, Gorey, Co Wexford.
Liosmor Mochuda, National School, Waterford, Lismore, Co Waterford;
Fenor National School, Fenor, Tramore, Co Waterford;
Scoil Naomh Bhride, Ballyconneely, Co Galway.
Meet the Team!
Cathy Baxter, Green-Schools Manager, tells us about her role within Green-Schools: I have been lucky enough to work in the Education Unit of An Taisce for nearly 8 years. I started as a volunteer on the National Spring Clean <!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->programme and was then asked to help out on the Green-Schools programme as it was really expanding rapidly at the time. We haven’t looked back! The programme has grown so much since then, which has brought me into contact with brilliant students and inspiring teachers. It’s also given me the opportunity to work with lots of other organisations and of course, the fantastic Green-Schools team. The best part of my job is being able to reward the hard work done by the schools with the Green Flag- which we have run out of after all our recent events so I must go and order loads more for next year! It’s great to be involved in something so positive, and I can’t wait to see what new developments are in store for Green-Schools in the coming years!