AS THE schools lock up for summer across the county, Kilkenny can proudly boast of having 55 green flags.
Last week, Urlingford NS, St Brigid’s in Coon, and Goresbridge NS all celebrated their own new flags. These flags represent an environmental award that schools receive for completing the seven-step green school programme, which is administered by An Taisce. The past year has been busy in Kilkenny, as 12 schools received their first green flag while another 11 schools received a renewal flag, according to Bernadette Moloney, the Environmental Awareness Officer of Kilkenny local authorities, who liaises with An Taisce closely.
Kilkenny local authorities support schools locally by providing teacher information seminars and the Environmental Awareness Officer completes school visits to check on schools progress throughout the programme. The local authority funds and organises an educational spring programme providing an opportunity for educators to complete school visits to deliver environmental education by lots of interactive and fun ways.
In the past school year alone, five schools received an artist who completed wall murals with selected pupils based on a recycling and litter theme. The ‘R-Factor’ – an environmental quiz based theme show proved an interactive way to engage pupils.
The ‘Story of the Rubbish Monster’ – a puppet show for young pupils – completed 12 performances. Five energy shows from the SEAI taught pupils about energy conservation, while seven biodiversity workshops taught pupils on the importance of all living things.
Secondary school activities featured more this year, as more secondary schools engage in the green school programme commented the Environmental Awareness Officer.
“Secondary students attended the information evening for teachers and six schools partook in an ECO-UNESCO training day to learn how to get the green school programme out of the starting blocks within their own school,” said Ms Moloney.
“Two secondary schools received their first green flag this year and they are a great example of how to achieve the award as it takes effort from both the student and teaching body. The Gum Litter Taskforce campaign nicely compliments their green school activities, and it will continue to provide educational and practical resources to schools on raising awareness on the proper disposal of gum litter over the next two years which is most welcomed.”
Kilkenny local authorities have expressed gratitude to An Taisce for its continual commitment to the programme on a national level and praise of the highest order is due to all principals, teachers, SNAs, caretakers, members of school board of management, parents and particularly to the pupils and students who strengthens the green school programme in Kilkenny year on year.