St. Patrick’s S.N.S. has been involved in the Green-Schools programme since 2003. Green-Schools is the Irish branch of an international environmental education programme and award scheme known as Eco-Schools. It is designed to raise students’ awareness of environmental and sustainable development issues.
In order to earn a Green flag, a school must form a Green-schools committee and work on a particular theme for two years. Our committee is made up of student representatives from each class and two teachers. The committee must complete seven steps, submit an application and receive an assessment visit before a flag is awarded. So far, our school has been awarded with four green flags: Litter and waste; energy; water and travel.
We are currently working towards our 5th green flag for Biodiversity. Biodiversity is all about the variety of life that surrounds us, from the smallest insects to the tallest tree, and how all life forms are interconnected. To earn our Green flag, we must raise awareness of biodiversity in the school community and try to make our school grounds into a better habitat for plant and animal life.
To this end, our Green-schools committee has been hard at work. We have assessed the school grounds and drafted habitat maps. We organised a school-wide biodiversity art competition and a visit from some beekeepers and their bees to teach us about the importance of pollinators. Teachers have also been teaching their classes about biodiversity, food webs, ecosystems and habitats. Some pupils made bird feeders and learned about garden birds.
In October, 2017 we organised an action day for Tetra Pak Tree Day. We learned about trees and completed some lovely art work and projects. All classes took part in a tree trail, and learned lots about the trees growing in our school grounds. We also received a tiny Alder sapling from the Tree Council of Ireland, which we planted in our garden.
There will be lots more to come from the Green-schools committee. Soon we will be placing a bird table in the garden and looking out for new feathered visitors! We also hope to grow some more flowers and vegetables in our school garden. Any help with our biodiversity projects would be very gratefully accepted.
St. Patrick’s Green-Schools Committee.