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Green School application 1999
1. Green School committee
Teachers: Mrs. Galvin, Mr. Curran
Third class: Ruth Kelliher
The Green School committee meets every two weeks at lunchtime to avoid disruption to class. The children have been elected to the committee by their respective classes. In some classes the candidates delivered a short speech outlining the reasons why they were seeking election. The above is a new committee.
We found the Green Schools Environmental Review an excellent starting point for our project. The checklist is very comprehensive and offered an overall view of the status of the school. From this we targeted various objectives and the time scale involved.
The committee examined and marked the Review as objectively as possible!
A copy of our Action Plan can be found by clicking on the navigation bar.
As a starting point we weighed the rubbish from each classroom over a period of one week
The content of the bins were also noted and from this we decided to put three bins in classroom, one for paper which could be re-used, another for food which could be used for compost, and the third for the remaining waste.
Plastic wrappers were a big problem and one solution to this was to ban crisps and such snacks from the school. This integrated nicely with our healthy eating policy and is now part of school policy.
The left over lunches are still a problem, our efforts at compost were not successful so we had to address the problem once again. This year our policy regarding left over lunches has changed. Children must bring home left over lunches. Hopefully this will cut down on the amount of waste food, especially as parents can now see if their children have actually eaten their lunches. The effect on our waste management is very positive.
First we decided on prominent positions within the school to place the bags for collection of cans. Two bags were placed in the corridors and a third would be placed in the yard at break times.
Sixth class pupils would collect, count and sort the cans. This proved more difficult as we later discovered that some cans cannot be recycled and all the bags had to be emptied and the "rogues" taken out. Rubber gloves were purchased for this purpose.
Mr. Nicholas Knox was invited to the school to speak to the fifth class pupils about "The Ringo Project".
Fifth class took responsibility for this project and collected the plastic rings, which hold cans in place. It was not practical to count these rings, but were weighed. When they were sent the weight was 13 lbs., which was a great effort.
We collected paper for several months before a decision was finally reached regarding the means of reusing this paper. Approaches were made to various bodies regarding the availability of a log press. These ranged from ENFO to recycling companies to Waterford County Council, all without success. With the help of generous sponsorship a local engineering firm made a log press for us and we prepared to go into production in March. Two large plastic drums were acquired from a local factory and were used to soak the paper.
Towards the end of the school year a local retailer donated another log press to us.
Our other plan had been to purchase a shredder and shred the paper, which would have been used by a local greyhound owner in place of straw.
The sixth class children collected the paper from the Paper Bins twice a week and put it into the drums to be soaked and then compressed into paper logs. This was an exercise in "trial and error" which has been accurately recorded by Donna Walsh. Eventually we got it right!
The logs had to be left for a considerable amount of time to dry. At the end of June we had made 47 logs.
The sixth class pupils then took them home to burn in their homes.
Monitoring and evaluating progress is an ongoing process and can be evaluated in relation to our action plan as outlined in answer 3. Many of our targets have been met, particularly our short term objectives.
Before I mention some of the targets achieved and our means of evaluation one vital area which is extremely important to the project and yet difficult to quantify is the change in attitude and willingness to participate which has been displayed by the pupils in the school. This is real progress.
We have tried to address the problem of litter and waste. By examination one can see that the school grounds are tidy and that litter is not a major problem. The school gardens are also very presentable. The problem of disposing of this litter is a more difficult proposition. We made 47 logs last year and this took a lot of paper. The children realize this would have been merely disposed of rather than recycled. It was a major feat to actually acquire a log press and then to get a second was really exciting.
The number of cans collected is tabulated and the monthly figures displayed.
We have through consultation with all classes compiled our Eco Code and this is displayed in each classroom and in the corridors.
We are happy with our progress so far but are no way complacent and appreciate things can always be improved upon. This can be achieved through constant monitoring and observation.
The vast majority of children in the school have been involved in curriculum work regarding Green Schools. Some examples are:
Sixth class undertook a project on paper, its history, uses etc.
Fifth class looked at the role of oil. This related directly to the Ringo Project, which saw them collect the plastic holders for cans
Fourth class did some artwork for a competition organised by City Square Shopping centre in Waterford and which was displayed at Easter time in the centre. They collected over a period of time, the wrappers from some bars and subsequently decorated the Easter bunny using the wrappers.
Drawing of a plan of the school which was divided into zones and responsibility given to each class.
Litter survey undertaken by second class. Trees….types of trees and identifying same.
Our Day of Action comprised of a number of activities around the school and grounds. After a hard day’s work we all felt we had achieved our targets, in actual fact perhaps surpassed my expectations!
Dissipation of information is primarily done by the members of the Green School committee. We have two Green school notice boards due to geographic nature of the building and on these are displayed information etc.
We began our Green School activities with the launch of a Trash Free Day and this ensured that all children were aware of the project. All classes have their own particular responsibilities to ensure their continued support
We have made contacts with the wider community in a number of ways during our participation in the project. Parents have obviously been informed through letters and updates as their support is vital.
We have also secured sponsorship for our log press from a local business and a local factory have sponsored a flowerbed.
Waterford Co. Council are very impressed by the efforts of the children and as a result have been featured, through the Co. Council, on one of the local papers. The environmental officer Ms. Vivenne Dool has been a visitor to the school on many occasions.
We were invited to the official opening of the new recycling facility in the village by the environmental officer and subsequently presented with a framed certificate in recognition of the work done by the children to ensure a litter free area.
We were the first Irish school featured on the European Green Schools web page and have received a number of E mails as a result
Our Eco Code was derived from ideas which came from each class, the ideas were all put together and the school code was formed from the ideas and suggestions of all the classes. We were always conscious of the need for simplicity as the Code applies to children from four years of age to twelve years of age.
A copy of our Code can be found by clicking on the navigation bar.
I have briefly mentioned in answer 5 some of the benefits to our school. Without doubt this has been an extremely beneficial project and one that must be sustained throughout the lives of our pupils. It has been a practical exercise and offers many of the less academic children the opportunity to utilise talents which may well have eluded us under the narrow confines of the curriculum.
A lasting memory for me would be the look of satisfaction displayed by some of the children after the day of action. Our school is a tidier, more environmentally aware community as a result.Michael Curran
7 October 1999