There were plenty of celebrations at St. Mary’s before the summer holidays, as we raised our latest and fifth Green Flag. This ‘Green Home’ flag was awarded by An Taisce and Meath County Council for the school’s participation in the Green Home programme.
This programme centred around bringing the ‘green message’ home to family members as well as continuing the themes of saving energy and water, green travel, waste management and recycling. Parents undertook a number of Green Home challenges and participated in clean-up days and other projects within the school. All classes began composting food waste, golden boots were awarded to encourage walking and cycling, and pupils participated in energy workshops given by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The school recycles everything from batteries and phones to old clothes and shoes, as well as all clean plastic and paper.
There were a number of speakers at the flag raising ceremony, including Sinéad Lee, a 6th class pupil representing the Green Home Team. School principal, Mr Ó hÓbáin spoke about the whole-school effort put into achieving the flag, involving all classes and their teachers, school caretakers and parents. He thanked An Taisce and Meath County Council for their continuous help and support of St. Mary’s over the past number of years.
Mr Ó Brádaigh, Green Schools Co-ordinator, told pupils that they should all be very proud of their achievements in the Green Schools Programme and urged the children to continue spreading the green message in their homes!
After raising our new flag, we got the sad news that former St. Mary’s pupil Craig Harford, had died tragically in Ashbourne. Craig had served on the Green Schools Committee in 6th class and he was remembered at the Graduation Mass in the school before his funeral. May he rest in peace.
St Mary’s is proud to be a GREEN SCHOOL! We achieved our first green flag for recycling in 2004. Five flags now blow in the breeze in front of our building. Here’s a summary of what’s been happening since September 2010, when we began our campaign for our fifth flag- GREEN HOME!
Check out the green websites on the right of this page for more information, case studies and the latest news from the Green World! You’ll find them in the Useful Links section…
There was a time in St. Mary’s when the teachers used to organise a ‘litter-pickers’ timetable, involving various senior classes scouring the school grounds, picking up litter! NOW, we’re no longer doing this!! Why not, I hear you say? Because we’re now almost LITTER-FREE! Thanks to all the boys and girls for their help with this! Litter is only litter when it’s on the ground!
Our classroom rubbish bins are getting very slim these days! That’s because not very much is going into them! All paper and most plastics are being recycled, including juice cartons and plastic bottles. We want to reduce our landfill costs in St. Mary’s, and increase the amount of waste going to recycling! REDUCE, RE-USE, RECYCLE!
Every classroom spent two years making compost! Children put their fruit peelings, apple butts, pencil parings and scrunched papers into small brown bins in their classrooms! Members of the Green Home Team collected and emptied their contents into one of three large composters beside the school building.
Now, as we start the new school year, 2012/2013, individual classes have stopped making compost.The composters need a rest and we want to encourage all pupils to bring home their fruit peelings and left-overs. The compost bins will remain in the yard, however.
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One of Mr Ó hÓbáin’s first projects as principal was to improve the insulation in the school’s external walls and the attic. This was completed, as well as replacing all external doors and windows with double-glazing panels. This has had an enormous effect on our heating bills and our classrooms, corridors and assembly hall have all warmed up considerably! There was a time when arctic conditions prevailed in the assembly hall!
Early in 2012, we also replaced our inefficient oil-fired heating boiler with a new, efficient and modern gas boiler. This will improve the heating around the school and save us lots of money in the process! Also, we’re in the process of installing new low-energy lights in each classroom! A BRIGHT idea, don’t you think?
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All the toilet cisterns in the main building now have push-buttons for water conservation! We’re keeping the use of water NEAT!
We encourage as many as possible to walk or cycle to school. We have a fantastic bicycle shed near the playgrounds. The GOLDEN BOOT is given to the best walking and cycling class every fortnight! We hope to bring back the Golden Boot after Christmas.
Green Home Challenges
As part of our Green Home programme, many parents completed different challenges, which children from 2nd to 6th class brought home.
We’d like to thank all the parents who filled out the forms and researched green topics with their children. Among the challenges completed were ENERGY VAMPIRES, SLIM YOUR BIN and a TRAVEL CHALLENGE.
None of these challenges would have been completed without the input of parents, so we thank them ever so much for this!
Green SURVEY 2012
We sent out a ‘green’ survey to each household. It was not very long and each question was very easy to answer. In fact, there were many very interesting questions in the survey!
This process of parents filling out this survey was part of the GREEN HOME programme, laid out by An Taisce and Meath County Council. Thank you very much for your help with this!