Keeping you up to date with An Taisce Green-Schools!

Welcome to the October
Green-Schools Ezine!

Above: The spook-tacular staff and students from Queen of Angels NS in Sandyford had a Halloween WOW Day on October 26! Is your school celebrating Halloween with a Green-Schools theme?
Let us know! 

Dates for your Diary

Global Citizenship Marine Environment theme

Above: Green-Schools Officer Brigit O'Driscoll delivers a 'Climate Change and the Marine Environment' workshop to students from Scoil an Spioraid Naomh, Roxborough

We are excited to introduce our eighth and newest Green-Schools theme: Global Citizenship - Marine Environment, supported by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. Green-Schools officers have recently been delivering workshops to schools taking part in the theme and developing resources and videos, which you can view on our website. Stay tuned for more news on this exciting new theme! 

Green-Schools and Irish Water
launch fourth year of partnership

Above: Joanie and Cory from Ranelagh Multi Denominational School at the launch
of the fourth year of Green-Schools' partnership with Irish Water

An Taisce’s Green-Schools programme has teamed up with Irish Water for a fourth year to support schools undertaking their Water theme.  The Water theme aims to increase awareness of water conservation among primary and secondary school students.

During the last academic year schools in Ireland saved 582 litres of water per person per year: enough water to make 660 million cups of tea – a fact the students of Ranelagh Multi Denominational School (RMDS) helped to celebrate with a water-themed tea party!

RMDS were the recipients of the Water School of the Year Award 2016 for the Dublin region.

The school’s staff and students embraced the Green-Schools Water theme. They made physical changes by installing water displacement devices in toilets, replacing large sinks and reducing their water pressure. The Green-Schools committee attended a Water Forum and members delivered water saving workshops to all class groups in the school.

Examining water issues in their local area was also a topic: the committee tested the water quality of the nearby Grand Canal and investigated rainwater harvesting. By holding a Walk for Water event they spread awareness of global water issues too. Their actions lead to the school reducing their already low water usage of 9.51 litres per person per day to 8.98 litres per person per day – a six per cent decrease.

445,000 engaged students!

This year will see the return of the Green-Schools Irish Water Poster Competition and the School of the Year Award. In addition to these competitions Green-Schools and Irish Water will be launching the second year of the Green-Schools Water Ambassador Programme for second-level students;  delivering 20 Water Forums to primary and secondary schools and piloting a staff engagement programme in Irish Water, which hopes to assist Irish Water staff in further supporting schools with practical help and advice.

Last year the Ambassador programme delivered advanced water workshops to 38 students in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway. In May 2016, 192 schools in Ireland received the Green Flag award for Water. Since it began the theme has reached over 445,000 students and 35,000 teachers and over the past three years of the Irish Water partnership 60 Water Forums have taken place around Ireland serving 2,400 students and teachers who have brought the water saving message home to their school communities.

At the launch, Cathy Baxter, Manager, Green-Schools said:

“We are delighted to be at Ranelagh Multi Denominational School to celebrate the launch of the fourth year of our partnership with Irish Water and to celebrate the school’s amazing work on water conservation. We hope to build on our success this year and bring the message of water conservation to more schools and homes – 660 million cups of tea can be improved on!”

Commenting on the partnership, Annabel FitzGerald, Senior Communications Officer, Irish Water added:

“Learning about the value of water, water conservation and our water and wastewater network from an early age is incredibly important and by educating and working with young people throughout Ireland we can help to improve our water behaviours.  We are delighted to partner with Green-Schools for a fourth year and we are looking forward to developing this programme further with the introduction of the Irish Water Staff Engagement Programme where by students will be able to avail of educational workshops led by our top engineers at some of our water and wastewater sites.”

Learning about Forests programme launched 

Above: Ellen and Faye O’Mahony joined programme coordinator Rachel Geary at Curragh Chase Forest Park on Tree Day to launch the Learning about Forests Programme in Ireland
The Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce is launching the Learning about Forests programme this year and, following huge interest, 28 schools based in County Limerick have already signed up to the programme. 

Through interactive learning and field trips the programme reconnects the next generation with their environment, educating them to be more conscious of protecting it and instilling in students a sense of ownership of the natural world that surrounds them. There will be emphases on using Curragh Chase Forest Park as a focal point for training and events in the region. The park, which is managed by Coillte, covers 313 hectares of mixed woodlands, park land and lakes which together provide a rich habitat for a diverse range of animals and plants.

Two places available

This year, An Taisce aims to work with approximately 30 schools in County Limerick, so there are still 2 places available to interested and enthusiastic schools. Each school will receive and introductory visit and a LEAF pack from An Taisce. Following the initial visits, schools will decide which LEAF Theme they will work on for the coming school year and begin researching the topic with the help and guidance of the LEAF Team. During the school year, each school will have the opportunity to avail of a school based workshop and site visit to Curragh Chase Forest Park. All activities will be connected to their chosen LEAF Theme and linked with the school curriculum.

The Learning about Forests programme will explore forests as a whole and look at topics such as biodiversity, water, climate change, products and community and actions students can undertake to help protect and enhance our forests. Rachel Geary, National Coordinator said: "The team is looking forward to exploring how schools can engage with this exciting new programme in a meaningful and fun way."
Learning about Forests (LEAF) Ireland teamed up with the Tree Council of Ireland during Tetra Pak Tree Day on Thursday, 6 October to officially launch the International LEAF programme in Ireland. Learning about Forests Ireland would like to thank Coillte and the Tree Council of Ireland for their support. 

WOW Launch at Scoil Bhride, Mountnugent

Scoil Bhride in Mountnugent, Co. Cavan wasted no time getting their Green-Schools Travel theme off the ground this school year. Following the first school visit on September 16 with Green-Schools Travel Officer Susan Doorley, the school set the date of their first WOW Day (Walk on Wednesdays) for September 28.  Each member of the committee was set a task so that they could be ready: informing the school; making posters; doing a high vis jacket survey; and informing parents and the local community.

It was decided that everyone would meet at the local community centre as most of the children travel long distances to get to the school.  The ones that could walk all the way joined the long walking bus along the route!  There was a huge turnout with almost every single pupil in the school walking, and some also cycled with their parents. The school's staff and principal were all involved too with most walking and the rest in the school preparing the healthy breakfast for the arrival of the walkers. 

Halloween Plans!

The children and parents were rewarded with fruit and drink for the children and tea / coffee for the parents. Afterwards, Susan met with the committee and went through the morning's events.  Everyone agreed it was the “best day ever” and 100% want to do it again!  They agreed to promote WOW days every week for the month of October finishing with a Witches Walk on the last week to celebrate Halloween.

Eco-Schools National
Operator Meeting

Pictured above: Eco-Schools delegates at last year's National Operator Meeting in Belfast, hosted by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful. 

This year 80 delegates from over 50 countries will gather in Johannesburg, South Africa for the annual Eco-Schools International Meeting. Our hosts will be WESSA : The Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa. Delegates will discuss how the Eco-Schools programme is working in different countries and the varied environmental challenges we face. We will also be visiting two Green Flag primary schools and focusing on how Eco-Schools can support the Global Goals. We’re looking forward to sharing the innovative ideas from our schools with our international partners and also hope to get some new ideas to bring home to Ireland!
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