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AnTaisceLogoApril 2012 
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Welcome to the April An Taisce Environmental Education Unit E-zine!



Welcome to the April Edition of the An Taisce Environmental Education Unit E-zine. 2012 is proving to be a busy and exciting year for the Environmental Education Unit with our programmes and campaigns continuing to grow from strength to strength! In this issue, you can read about the success of the Green Campus Colloquium, the visit to the Unit by Mrs Evelin Ilves, First Lady of Estonia, and the ambitious plans for the Green Communities programme. This month also sees the National Spring Clean in full swing and provides details of the upcoming Coca-Cola Clean Coast Week and Walk to School Week 2012! 

 

  


Coca-Cola Clean Coast Week - May 11th-18th

 
Protecting Ireland’s beaches, seas and marine life.
 
Thousands of coastal custodians around Ireland will be participating in the third Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week which is part of An Taisce’s Clean Coasts programme. This week is an opportunity to protect and enjoy the spectacular coastline of Ireland. This year's theme, "Love Your Coast,” emphasises the important role that we can all play, and are playing, in conserving our marine environment.  In a recent survey of beach users 88% said that beach cleanliness was a very important consideration when they visited the beach. By participating in the Big Beach Clean which takes place on the first weekend of the week you can do your bit to help your local beach. Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week is coordinated by An Taisce and is part of their Clean Coasts Programme. For more information on how to get involved and a comprehensive list of events locally, please visit  www.cleancoastsweek.ie
 The Clean Coasts Programme is funded by the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government, Coca-Cola and Fáilte Ireland. 

Clean Coast Week 2012

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First Lady of Estonia visits An Taisce's Green-Schools Office!  


An Taisce’s Green-Schools Office was honoured this April by a visit from Mrs Evelin Ilves, First Lady of Estonia, who was on a short trip to Dublin with her husband. Mrs Ilves has a great interest in the wellbeing of children so was keen to learn about the Green-Schools programme and how it has been so successful in Ireland. Patricia Oliver, Director of Education at An Taisce, told her all about the fantastic work the schools do here.
On foot of the visit Mrs Ilves plans to start a similar programme in Estonia, and will be using all our great Green-Schools as an example!
 
First Lady of Estonia visits the EEU

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Walk to School Week May 21st - 25th 2012

 
Thousands of students from all over Ireland will take part in walking initiatives to make the journey to their school a greener and healthier one during National Walk to School Week, May 21st – 25th. Green-Schools across the country will encourage pupils, parents and teachers to walk or park n’ stride to school by holding events such as Walk to School days, Walk on Wednesday, Feet First Fridays, sponsored walks and walking challenges. Schools this year will be taking part in the Green-Schools’ ‘National WOW (Walk on Wednesday) Day’ on May 23rd, to help An Taisce Green-Schools reach the target of 20,000 students walking to school all over Ireland on the day! Join the thousands of walkers across the country this year and don’t forget to let us know how you celebrate National Walk to School Week in your school! 

Walk to School Week 2012

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Ministers Come Together for All-Ireland Anti-litter Initiative this Spring! 


Phil Hogan, TD, Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government was joined by Alex Attwood, MLA, Minister for the Environment, Northern Ireland to launch a major all island anti-litter initiative this Spring. An Taisce’s National Spring Clean, Ireland’s longest running anti-litter programme, which takes place throughout the month of April and the Tidy Northern Ireland’s Big Clean Up have joined forces to host the biggest ever all-island clean up this April. The launch took place at one of the first National Spring Clean events of the year, organised by the pupils of Gardiner Street National School in association with the Mountjoy Square Society in Dublin’s North City Centre.  
The National Spring Clean campaign is Ireland’s largest anti-litter programme organised by An Taisce and funded by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. Last year, more than half a million people organised clean-up events all over the country as part of the initiative and already thousands of people have registered for this year’s campaign. 

Launch of National Spring Clean

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1st Green-Campus Colloquium

 
Over 30 universities, institutes of technology and colleges of further education gathered in Croke Park on January 26thfor the inaugural An Taisce-Higher Education Authority Green-Campus Colloquium. Both existing participants and new entrants discussed collective opportunities, challenges in order to form a Green-Campus network and shape supports and training requirements. The delegation was addressed by the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD, Tom Boland, CEO of the Higher Education Authority as well as staff, students and management of Campuses engaged in the Green-Campus Programme.
Green-Campus is a direct result of the success of the Green-Schools Programme; large majority of students at third level attended Green-Schools and for them Green-Campus is a continuation of the programme to third level. For the management and staff of third level institutions not only does the programme deliver sustained cost savings, enhanced co-operation with the student body and entire campus community, benefits have also been realised in the ways that campuses engage with their surrounding environs, communities and neighbours.  It has become evident that if the best practice and experience of those already engaged in the Green Campus Programme could be applied, even in part, to the third level sector the cost savings and efficiencies could be 10s of millions of euro in scale.  

Green Campus

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Green Home
 

St.Mary's National School in Trim have been working on the Green Home programme for the past few months, and this St. Patrick's Day they decided to spread the Green Home message throughout Trim by taking part in the parade. The theme of their float was "Can Mrs.Brown turn to Mrs.Green?" - (Mrs. Brown of the TV programme Mrs.Brown's Boys fame). With the help of the Green Home mascot St.Mary's managed to turn Mrs.Brown to Mrs. Green and also to win the award for the best float in the parade!! Well done to all of the teachers,pupils and family members who participated. Find out more>>

Can Mrs. Brown turn to Mrs. Green?  

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Neat Streets


 
Neat Streets schools are using An Taisce’s National Spring Clean campaign to engage with their local communities and arrange clean up events and litter awareness activities in their communities. Students have been running anti-litter programmes since the beginning of the academic year and have developed expertise in litter management through the Neat Streets programme. As part of National Spring Clean Castlecomer Community School’s Neat Streets committee met with Castlecomer Tidy Towns to organise a Green Day for the town. Activities for the day include; power-washing, litter picks, and replanting flower pots and baskets. The school will also have a non-uniform green theme, organise a flash mob video and run a ‘shave or dye’ fundraising event. Find out more>>

Students from O’Carolyn College’s National Spring Clean event, 2012

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Green Communities


Originally ‘Green Communities’ was developed by An Taisce’s Environmental Education Unit, in partnership with Keep Wales Tidy, as an EU INTERREG IV funded programme from October 2008 to October 2011. Throughout the programme An Taisce worked with community groups and organisations to enhance their local wildlife and biodiversity, while improving access to green spaces, and actively reducing the group’s carbon footprint. Many groups have adopted an area such as a local woodland, the grounds of community centres, or a stretch of beach, and have worked to make them friendlier habitats for flora and fauna, and more accessible for people. As well as improving specific locations, Green Communities groups have also engaged in Community Garden Development, Water Management Initiatives, Native Species Planting, Environmental Education and Habitat Enhancement. This latter has included the removal of Invasive Species, Tree Planting, and Constructing Dry Stone Walls. Now that funding for the Green Communities Programme has officially ended, it leaves behind a network of community groups that can potentially form a self perpetuating network of like minded community initiatives. Because of the huge achievements of the groups within Green Communities over the last 3 years, we are now planning to extend the lifespan of the programme. Ultimately the aim is to expand nationwide but although at present there is no funding for this ambitious plan, An Taisce is continuing to explore all funding options to achieve this. Meanwhile we are aware of the need to keep the Green Communities network supported until such time as funding becomes available. To find out more please contact Robert Moss at rmoss@eeu.antaisce.orgor on 01-4002218.   

Green Communitites

 
  


 

 



Meet the Staff!


Over the coming months we will be introducing EEU staff from around the country. In this first newsletter we introduce our director.


Patricia Oliver is a former journalist and book editor with the Macmillan Company of New York. She edited An Taisce's magazine for many years and published Valerie Bond's history "An Taisce - The First 50 Years". She served on Council for over twenty years and chairs its fundraising and organisation committee. Elected National Chairwoman for four years in the early nineties, she founded the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce in 1993, becoming its Executive Director in 2000. Having served on the Tailors Hall Restoration Committee for twenty years, the building is very close to her heart.

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