Our final ezine of the year - it's a good one!
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Seasons Greetings from

Welcome to the last ezine of 2014

Hello and welcome to the December 2014 Green-Schools Ezine, our last of this calendar year. 

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very happy Christmas and every best wish for the coming new year. Thank you for your support of the Green-Schools programme throughout 2014; we couldn't do it without you!

We have lots of news from the past month coming up along with some festive tips to keep your Christmas as green as possible. 

Don’t forget to keep an eye on for updates and information alongside resources, case studies and support materials. You can also follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, spy our Instagram, listen to us on Soundcloud, watch us on YouTube and view our photos on Flickr. (phew!) We love hearing about your school's programme so don't forget to email us with your news and photos. Missed any of our previous ezines? Check out all other past issues here.

Green-Schools at Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition

Is your school visiting or exhibiting at this year's BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, on January 8th, 9th and 10th? If so, be sure to visit the Green-Schools stand in the Eco-Zone. We're looking forward to seeing all of the amazing projects, especially those inspired by Green-Schools! Follow us on Twitter for our updates from the exhibition! 

Celebrating Twenty Years of Eco-Schools

Green-Schools Manager Cathy Baxter attended the Eco-Schools National Operator Meeting in Wales this past weekend and had this report to share: 
"On the 5th and 6th December, national operators from 48 countries worldwide attended the International Eco-Schools meeting and celebration of 20 years of the Eco-Schools Programme. Keep Wales Tidy hosted a fabulous event in Cardiff. We had two days of great presentations and workshops and a wonderful evening in the impressive surroundings of Cardiff Castle. FEE president Jan Eriksen was on hand to cut the 20th Anniversary Eco-Schools cake (pictured below) and share his highlights from the last twenty years, providing inspiration for the next twenty.

"Local schools presented their work on Eco-Schools, and Green-Schools had the opportunity to share how we operate the programme in Ireland. Everyone wanted to hear about the success of our programme and I was happy to tell them it was down to our fantastic coordinating teachers and enthusiastic students. With one of the highest percentages of awarded schools in the programme. I was very proud to be representing Ireland at this event."

Thanks Cathy!

Rathfarnham Educate Together
launch Walking Bus

Thanks to Mary Carron, Principal at Rathfarnham Educate Together for sending us the news of their recently launched Walking Bus: 

"The pupils of Rathfarnham Educate Together had a new experience on Friday November 14th when a large number took part in the school’s first ever walking bus. The ‘bus’ left from several different meeting points and joined to form one large bus as it approached the school. Some children were also able to follow in ‘walking taxis’. The children were met on their arrival by staff and members of the student council and Green-Schools committee who welcomed them with balloons, a large banner and stickers for all the walkers.

"The organisers of the walking bus hope that this will be the start of a new initiative which is one of a number of initiatives aimed at easing traffic congestion outside the school in the mornings and increasing our commitment to finding ‘greener’ ways of travelling to school. The walking bus has the added bonus of being a great school community event."

Well done Rathfarnham ETNS!

Global Citizenship Workshop
at St. Wolstan's

Above: The Green-Schools committee from St. Wolstan's Community School, pictured with Green-Schools Officers Joanne Scott and Birgit O'Driscoll. 

Green-Schools Officers Joanne Scott and Birgit O'Driscoll visited St. Wolstan's Community School in Celbridge recently to hold a Global Citizenship workhop. 

The workshop explored global equity and inequality. Students engaged in activities that addressed social justice and sustainable development issues and were encouraged to develop and implement strategies to respond to these issues in their school and their community.

Continue reading here. 

Mo' WOW Day
at Sundays Well BNS

Sundays Well BNS is an all boys primary school located in Cork City centre. The boys have been working hard on their Action Plan and have planned themed WOW (Walk On Weekdays/Wednesdays) days for each month of the school year.

They are keen to make their work on the travel theme as memorable as possible and want to promote their work to the wider community. On Thursday, November 27th the school held a MO’vember-themed WOW day, followed by a talk in the hall to discuss the benefits of walking for health and fitness. The boys gathered at three separate meeting points depending on their direction of travel to school and they donned a variety of mustaches in all shapes and sizes! Green-Schools Travel Officer, Camilla Tunney, as well as a community Garda were present to guide the walk - it was a memorable WOW for all involved!

Green your Christmas!

Pictured above: Milford National School in Castletroy, Co. Limerick made this igloo, which they are displaying in their school, from recycled 2L milk bottles!  Read about how they made it on their website, here. Photo: Limerick Environment's Facebook page

Are you thinking about wrapping presents or decorating your school? Visit our Christmas tips page or share your ideas with us on Facebook or Twitter and help everyone have a cleaner, greener festive season!

Get in Gear Course
trains Galway's cyclists

The Get in Gear Cycling in Cities pilot project in Galway City has just finished with the training of 72 employees at 10 different companies around the City. This pilot course was run by Green-Schools staff in partnership with Galway City Council. 

Major employers such as NUI Galway, GMIT, HP (group pictured above), SAP, Galway City and County Councils and Enterprise Ireland took part in the two-hour cycle skills course.
The course trains the cyclist in gear changing; signalling; road positioning; negotiating roundabouts and junctions; and cycling safely with traffic. The feedback has been excellent with both inexperienced and very experienced cyclists getting a lot out of it. One trainee from NUI Galway gave this feedback: ‘’I just wanted to thank you for passing on the information about the cycle skills course below. I completed it this morning, and it was really excellent. I started cycling to work about a month ago, and now feel much more safe and confident on the roads. Thanks again.’’ Another said: ’’Excellent Course. Should be obligatory for staff signing up to the Cycle to Work Scheme’’.
Course instructors Tiarnan McCusker and Ray Foley were delighted at how it went: ‘’Trying to get people to sign up to a cycling course coming into Winter seemed like it could be a hard sell’’ said Tiarnan, ‘’ but there was a huge appetite amongst organisations and their staff to learn how to cycle safely on the road with traffic. The courses were great fun and it’s very rewarding to see people’s cycling confidence literally grow before your eyes .’’

Clonlisk NS raise Green Flag

Clonlisk NS in Co. Offaly raised their Green Flag for the Travel theme on Friday, November 28th. They chose a great day, in a week of fog and frost, and everybody had been busy preparing to celebrate the school’s achievements on the travel theme.
There isn’t really a Clonlisk village and yet Clonlisk NS is a vibrant Green-School, which took on the Travel theme with gusto. The result is that at present more than 50% of car journeys to school are done by carpooling and every month every member of the school community assembles at three meeting points for the walk to school.  

Together with parents and the board of Management the achievements were remembered and celebrated with pictures of the walks, some with a special theme including Santa, St Patrick’s Day, Shorts and Shades, and the bike workshops on skills, safety and maintenance. After the raising of the flag in bright sunshine everybody enjoyed the tasty results of the baking skills of the parents. The beautiful Green Flag cake (pictured above), produced by a parent, was both symbolic, for the four green flags achieved and the involvement of the whole community, but above all delicious!

Kilmactranny's Christmas Walking Bus

Students from Scoil Naomh Seosaigh in Kilmactranny NS in Co. Sligo kicked their festive season off with a fun Christmas themed walking bus event on Tuesday, December 9th. 

Kilmactranny have given a whole new meaning to the term ‘Walking Bus’ by ensuring that children who travel to school by bus also get to enjoy an active walk as part of their journey. Teachers and their Travel Officer Imelda Ryan-Jones met early at the school to walk together to the designated Park 'n' Stride location.  En route they called for one family who live nearby to walk with the children to the church in Kilmactranny (pictured above).  There they met the school bus and its passengers.  Everyone was wearing Christmas themed headwear including reindeer hats, elf hats and there was even a turkey hat, along with lots of santa hats and bright high visibility jackets.
Following the fun walk to school teacher Joan McLoughlin whisked up a surprise treat for the children: warm hot chocolate with optional melted marshmellows on top.  Well done to all at Scoil Naomh Seosaigh in Kilmactranny, Co Sligo for promoting travelling to school by bus and walking to school.  “A novel walking bus indeed” said Imelda. “Due to this School’s hard work on the Green-Schools Travel theme I nominated Joan and her School for a Public Transport Peoples Award in the Above and Beyond category.  The efforts this school is making to ensure that the bus children also get to enjoy a walk to school is inspirational.”

Dublin City Schools attend Travel Forum


Committee members from six Dublin City schools (Glasnevin ETNS; Our Lady of Lourdes N.S.; Our Lady of Good Counsel B.N.S.; St James N.S.; St. Vincent's G.N.S. and Howth Mixed Road N.S.) attended a Travel forum held in Pearse Street Library on Friday, November 28th. The workshop commenced with an ice-breaker, which facilitated interaction amongst the pupils and teachers. Afterwards, the students had the opportunity to listen to the committee members of Glasnevin Educate Together NS (pictured above) - the 'model' school on the day - speak about the work they did that earned them their travel flag.

This was followed by a short Q&A session with the ‘model’ school. After the coffee break, the students played the 4 Good Ideas Game where the committees had the opportunity to earn 10 points in each round for the best explanation of an action or idea. The themes of the rounds reflected some of the seven steps of the programs; Review it; Do it; Check it; Action days; Tell everyone about it. A further 10 points was given to the teams who acted out their chosen sustainable travel mode the best during each round, examples of which included, floating like a butterfly and wriggling like a snake. As a follow-on exercise, committees worked with their coordinators to develop four good ideas or actions from the game that they could implement in their schools by the end of this school year. The forums provided an opportunity for the model schools to showcase their work and proved informative for the committees as it equipped them with an action plan of fresh ideas to take back to their schools. 

Green-Schools Triumph
at RSA Leading Lights Awards

Green-Schools Travel schools in Co Limerick and Co Sligo have won the primary school and special school sections of the RSA Leading Light Awards 2014.  Both Our Lady Queen of Peace from Limerick and St Cecilia’s Special School from Cregg in Co Sligo received their awards at a ceremony on Wednesday, December 11th. 

Our Lady Queen of Peace

The RSA have recognised the great work of Our Lady Queen of Peace, Limerick for their outstanding work to promote road safety at their school gate. This exciting project involved the creation of 'lifesize dolls' which were placed outside the school gate to highlight safety concerns associated with double parking and was completed as part of their Green-Schools Action Plan. This project was a whole school effort and involved students, parents, grandparents, local mens shed groups and teachers in its realisation. As part of their action plan they also created strong links with Limerick Smarter Travel and the local tidy towns group.

St. Cecilia's Special School

St. Cecilia's Special School wanted to create resources so their students could learn about road safety.  To promote road safety awareness they created the Ten Top Travel Tips (below) and they devised an interactive matching symbols educational resource (above) which can be easily replicated by both special and primary schools nationwide. 

Top Travel Tips, from St. Cecilia's Special School

It’s super cool to walk to school.
If driving think carpool or decide to Park ‘n Stride.
It’s right to dress bright during daylight.
Defo the biz to wear high viz
during dusk, darkness & dawn.
When crossing the road remember the Code.
Always say can I see clearly each way.
Never cross near a hill or a bend dear friend.
Kids travel with care in a booster chair.
Seat belts must click on every road trip.
In the car or bus, make zero fuss.
Be quiet inside to help the driver drive.
Pedal your way to a fitter day,
with a helmet on top,  you definitely rock.
Remember our tips on all of your trips. 

Extra! Extra!

Want more Green-Schools news? Visit our website for more stories from around the country. 
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