The Green Schools initiative is an international programme for schools that promotes environmental accountability and sustainability through an award scheme. It is designed to encourage and reward the development of sustainable environmental management systems that involve the entire school community.

The aim of the programme is to educate pupils, teachers and parents on environmental issues, increasing their awareness of difficulties and problems and encouraging them to become active participants in the solutions to these problems within their own schools. Everyone has a role to play and students are helped to participate in the decision making process through a ‘Green Schools Committee’.

Schools who achieve certain goals and targets are awarded a ‘Green Flag’. There are now seven central themes which guide the goals and targets of the schools involved.

1) Litter and Waste

2) Energy

3) Water

4) Travel

5) Biodiversity

6) Global Citizenship

7) Climate Change

Each theme has a seven step process which guides pupils, teachers and parents on the road towards the attainment of their Green Flag.

Green Schools in Ireland is run by ‘An Taisce’ in partnership with local authorities and is supported by the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Goverment, the Department of Transport and is sponsored by Repak, ESB Electric Ireland and the Wrigley Company Ltd.

 


Theme One – Waste

We have been involved in the Green Schools Programme since 2007. We have reduced our waste output significantly between 2007 and the end of 2009. We worked on litter black spots in the school playground and assigned litter pickers at lunchtimes. We achieved our first Green Flag in June 2010 for ‘Waste’.

Our targets included:

  • Recycle paper in all classrooms.
  • Collect cartons, plastic bottles and plastic for recycling.
  • Assign litter pickers in the yard.
  • Collect batteries for recycling.
  • Hold an annual Spring Clean Up Day.

Work continues with these targets. We have four separate bins in each classroom – paper, plastic, food and general waste. The Green Schools Committee checked to ensure the necessary bins were in all classrooms at the start of the school year. Litter pickers operate during yard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Theme Two – Energy

We achieved our second green flag in May 2012 after working on the theme of ‘Energy’ between September 2010 and May 2012. A pupil in each class is assigned the role of energy monitor and have many responsibilities which involve the monitoring of our targets on a daily basis.

Our targets included:

  • Close blinds when leaving the classroom at the end of the day to retain heat.
  • Turn off whiteboards and laptops when not in use.
  • Turn off lights when leaving the classroom.
  • Ensure that all light fixtures are fitted with energy efficient bulbs.
  • Turn off the radiators before opening windows.

In conjunction with Glanmore Foods, we reduced the number of plastic bottles we were using each day in school by installing water filters in some areas of the school and giving the pupils reusable plastic bottles which can be refilled each day.We continue to work on these targets. Students continue to use the reusable water bottles and filters are now installed in all classrooms. New windows have made our school warmer and more energy efficient. Laptops, whiteboards and lights are all turned off when leaving the classroom.

 


Theme Three – Water

We received our third Green Flag in June 2014. A player on the Dublin Senior Team, Ger Brennan, raised our third Green Flag. Saving water is not just about saving money. Water is an important resource and clean water is essential to the health of both people and the environment. We need water to grow crops and have enough food to eat. Even though we complain about having much rain in Ireland, water is precious and scarce and we need to conserve it and treat it with respect.

At St. Catherine’s we save water in the following ways:

  • We have water-saving push taps and modern cisterns in our toilets.
  • We save left over drinking water to water plants and wash art tools.
  • We drink filtered tap water instead of bottled water – which is not only better for the environment, it also allow us to cut down on our waste.

 

 

 

Sr. Philomena knew Ger Brennan when he was in primary school


Theme Four- Travel

We have now achieved our fourth Green Flag which falls under the theme of ‘Travel’.

As part of our Action Plan, we decided to set our own Travel targets. We worked to increase the number of pupils walking, park ‘n’ stride, carpooling or using public transport. We hope our efforts will help to reduce pollution and harmful emissions and lessen St. Catherine’s carbon footprint. Our efforts will also ease traffic by reducing the number of private cars arriving at the school gates. Another important positive impact of walking to school is that it will improve pupils’ safety, health and fitness.

We continue to work on the theme of travel and encourage children to walk, park and stride, carpool or use public transport. The ‘Green Boot Award’ is awarded to a different class each week who have made the best effort to walk to school.

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Transport Slogan

We recently held a slogan competition. Students from all classes were invited to come up with a catchy slogan that would be our school transport motto and would encourage everyone to make a commitment to walk to school.

The winner was Teegan Doran from fifth class. A big thank you to all who took part.

Here’s Teegan’s wonderful slogan:

Whether you’re playing with friends or strolling in the sun, when you’re walking to school it’s always fun!

 

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Traffic Survey

Caroline from An Taisce came to school to do a traffic survey with Ms. Savage’s 4th class maths group. We braved the heavy rain to make a tally of the number of vehicles passing the school and the number of passengers in each vehicle.

We watched for 5 minutes and then we made bar charts to show our results.

 

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Haunted Hat Walk to School

On 23rd October, 2015 we held a very special event to launch our Travel theme for this school year. As Halloween was approaching, we held a spooky parade from The Bogies to the school. We invited everyone to make a hat or mask out of recycled materials. We were really impressed by everyone’s amazing creations! We had great fun showing off our costumes and there were prizes for the best creations. We were delighted to see that photos of our wonderful costumes were posted on the Green Schools Facebook page!

 

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National Walk to School Week

May 16-20 2016

We were delighted to celebrate National Walk to School Week last week. 55 children walked to school on Wednesday, which was National WOW day. Well done girls! We held a special Funky Feet Friday event to mark the end of the week. We met in the Bogies at 8:30. Everyone wore colourful socks and some girls had even decorated their socks and shoes in wonderfully creative ways. Check out these photos of the big day and well done to everyone who took part!

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Renewal Visit Time

April 2016

As we prepare for our renewal visit and apply for our 4th Green Flag, 5th class, inspired by Brooke from the committee, have been writing some lovely Green Schools poetry.

Our Green school

Littering is bad,

Littering is uncool,

Don’t ever do it,

Especially in School

 

Ms. Savage will be watching

All the time

Don’t think of littering,

It’s like committing a crime.

 

Pollution is dangerous,

Not just for rivers and lakes

Help stop pollution

For all of our sake

 

With a smile here and there,

Walking is fun,

Don’t take your car,

Come on, join our run!

by Brooke, 5th Class

 


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We’ve had a very busy year promoting Green travel.

You can read all about it in our Newsletter here.

 


St. Catherine’s Awarded Travel Flag

May 24th 2016

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded our fourth green flag for transport! Hollie, Brooke and Ella from the Green Schools Committee went with Ms. Savage to the Helix in DCU to collect the flag. It was a wonderful celebration of the girls’ achievement. Thank you to all parents and pupils who have made a special effort to use their cars less and walk to school to ensure a healthier environment for future generations.

 

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Theme Five – Biodiversity

We have started working towards our fifth green flag which is for ‘Biodiversity’. Every class planted seeds including carrots, lettuce, marrow and sunflowers, these were then be transferred to the school garden. The school garden is new as of this year and contains an insect hotel. Classes will visit the garden to learn more about biodiversity. In June, 4th and 5th classes recently participated in a Biodiversity Workshop with a representative from An Taisce. 2nd Class planted daffodils and tree saplings as part of Tree Week. In October we held a ‘Biodiversity Parade’ in which the children dressed up as plants, animals etc.

 

On Friday, 24th of June members of the Green Schools Committee attended a special ceremony near Broombridge Railway Station to mark the opening of allotments which have been given to the community. It was a very special day. We look forward to watching the project ‘grow’ from strength to strength.

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We are currently preparing our school garden. 

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Working towards our Fifth Green Flag for Biodiversity.

 

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 3rd Class have been busy planting seeds as part of the ‘Grow n Sow’ programme.

 


 

Our new school garden looks amazing!

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Ms Clarke and 5th Class had great fun making and advertising their

‘Bug Hotels’!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biodiversity Workshop for 5th and 6th Classes

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2nd class had a great afternoon planting daffodil bulbs in the garden.


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Learning all about trees in the Phoenix Park as part of Tree Day.


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The Student Council with the late potato crop, and also planting some heathers, herbs and lavender for some Winter colour in the garden.


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2nd Class received an Alder Tree Sapling from the Tree Council and planted it on 29th of September. They look forward to watching it grow and planting it in the school garden.


 

2nd Classes are taking part in the Great Plant Hunt in which students learn about a series of plant and animal species throughout the year and go outside to explore nature in the surroundings. In December, Ms. Shovlin’s class had a ‘Holly Hunt’ in the school garden where the girls searched for holly and then had an opportunity to hide holly on the rest of the class.

 

 

  

 


 

Our Biodiversity Board really ‘livens’ up the corridor.

Every student decorated a template for the board.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sow and Grow Packs are going down a treat in our school.

Classes have planted spinach, cress and peas.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5th Classes visited the Botanic Gardens on Tuesday, 13th of February and participated in a ‘Delve Deeper’ workshop in which the girls looked at berries, leaves and fruits under the microscope and then went on a tour of the gardens. This ties in closely with the Biodiveristy Green Flag.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We explored the trees in our school garden recently.

We found a beech tree, horse chestnut tree, holly tree and sycamore tree.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were delighted to receive our 5th flag for Biodiversity recently in DCU.

Great work everyone!


 

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