(Written by our “Green School Committee”)
As you probably know by now, Green Schools is an international programme created to help our environment. There are many different themes such as: Litter and Waste, Energy, Water, travel and this year’s theme ‘Biodiversity’.
Our Current theme: Biodiversity
‘It’s Our Duty to Protect Nature’s Beauty’
We are really enjoying working on the ‘Biodiversity’ theme. Last year, we completed an environmental review which involved conducting a ‘Biodiversity Awareness Survey’ among our pupils and compiling a ‘Habitat Map’ of our school. From the results of these, we identified areas that we could improve in our school.
Some things that we have been working on to improve biodiversity in our school garden and to increase our awareness of biodiversity include:
*Going on mini-beast hunts and creating a leaf pile to provide a habitat for mini-beasts to live.
*Installing a bird house to attract and feed the birds in our school garden.
*Planting various new trees in our school garden, especially native Irish trees, sowing a wildflower patch and planting new spring bulbs.
*Participating in a ‘Woodlands Workshop’ facilitated by Green-schools Ireland.
*Designing and planning for an ‘Outdoor Classroom’ which will act as a area to greatly increase the levels of biodiversity in our school garden.
Our 4th theme: –Travel
‘Carpool to School to Save the Fuel’
During our environmental review, we carried out a walk-ability audit to assess the suitability of the surrounding areas of the school community for pupils walking and cycling to/from school. We also completed a traffic speed survey and found that over 80% of cars were not adhering to the speed limit of 60kph.
We have implemented a ‘No-Idling’ policy outside our school, resulting in cleaner air around the school grounds.
We promote car-pooling where possible to reduce the number of cars travelling to/from our school daily.
During tree week 2019, we planted a number of new trees in our school garden to help offset our carbon footprint.
In January 2020 our senior room completed the ‘Cycle Safety’ programme in conjunction with Mayo CoCo.
Our third theme: – Water
We conducted an environmental water review in our school during January 2016. We drew a map of our school and listed all of the waters points in our school.
We also conducted a leak test and a manual water audit.
We really enjoyed actively learning about how we use water and how we can save water in our school.
We installed hippo bags in our toilet cisterns. We hope that this will reduce each toilet flush by approximately 2-3 litres.
We have also installed a rainwater harvesting system which we hope to use for watering our vegetable patch, along with our school flowers.
Update: February 2017
We re-conducted our environmental water review in our school during January 2017.
Since our previous environmental water audit we have installed hippo bags in all of our toilet cisterns. In our girl’s toilets which previously used 10 litres per flush, we installed a 3 litre hippo bag which reduced each flush to 7 litres. In our boy’s toilets which previously used 7 litres per flush, we installed a 2 litre hippo bag which reduced each flush to 5 litres. We estimated that on average we use 300ml of water per hand wash.
We re-conducted a manual water audit over a five day period from Monday 16/1/17 to Friday 20/1/17.
Our results after the 5 days were as follows:
- Our results showed that we used an average of 8.18 litres of water per pupil per day.
- Our findings show that we have reduced our water usage from 12.33 litres (2016) to 8.18 litres (2017) per pupil per day. This is a reduction of 4.15 litres per pupil per day, or an overall reduction of approximately 80 litres of water every day in our school or 400 litres per week.
We have also decided on our ‘Green Code’ which is “Save a Drop… It means a lot!”
Work on our second theme: – Energy
We completed an appliance and lighting audit and we read the electricity meter. This helped us find out how much electricity we use and where/how we can save energy.
We have formed an energy squad who help us to remember
• Turn off lights/computers when not needed.
• Make sure taps are not dripping.
• Ensure windows and doors are closed to keep the heat in.
Our Green Code is Turn off the Light when it’s Bright
Sharon Cameron from the Green Schools visited us in January 2015. She came to see how we were getting on with our energy theme. We played a big energy saving board game and had great fun. She then met with the Green Schools committee. After that we sent off our application form.
We had our energy action day on the 18th of February 2015. We all dressed in green and had a low energy day. We turned off the lights and we didn’t use any light or electrical appliances. We monitored our electricity usage that day. We read the meter in the morning and evening and we were delighted when we found out we only used 3 kWh as opposed to 10 kWh when measured on another day. The junior room made paper wind turbines and the senior room completed electricity projects such as making a wind turbine, car and helicopter. We had a great day!
We were delighted when we found out we that we will receive our second green flag. We were awarded our Green Flag on the 19th of May 2015 and we had a raising the flag ceremony in June 2015.
Work on the first theme: – Litter and Waste
In October 2011 we began work on the project. Firstly, we set up a “Green School Committee”, which was made up of 1 or 2 representatives from each class in the school, and then we identified the areas that we would like to work on. We noticed that a lot of waste was being produced in the school, too much photocopying was being done and some places in our school yard were very littered. We decided to set the following targets for our Green School’s Action Plan:
Assign Litter Wardens Jobs:
Children to make sure yard is clean after breaks and report people who litter.
- Label all bins clearly to make recycling easier.
- Reduce amount of waste created in school.
- Reduce bins from 4 bin bags of waste to 1 bin bag per week.
- 0 bin bags of recycling to 2 bin bags per week.
- 0 compost bin to 1 small composts bin per week.
Keep school clean by wearing slippers.
Recycle batteries and mobile phones
Wee Ireland takes away all the used batteries we have in our school.
We donate all old mobile phone to Temple Street Hospital in Dublin.
Reduce amount of waste in our school i.e. no tinfoil & wrappers.
Photocopying & Paper:
Photocopy on both sides and use scrap paper where possible.
We got the whole school involved, and made sure the parents were aware of what we were doing also. Our Committee then met on a monthly basis to review our progress.
On the 7th of December 2011 we held an “Action Day” in school. Everyone dressed up in green and the whole school day was focused on eco-friendly activities. We made action day promises, constructed sculptures out of recycled items, and cleaned the school from top to bottom (which didn’t take long!!) Finally we decided on our “Green Code”
“BE CLEAN, BE GREEN”!!
A Green Schools Inspector visited our school in March 2012 and was delighted with our progress. We had even beaten our own targets! As a result, we were awarded our first Green Flag at a ceremony in Breaffy House Hotel on the 28th of May! We were so excited!
Our “Raising the flag ceremony” took place at 12pm on Friday June 14th in school, and everyone was welcome to attend.