Green Flag

Green Flag 1

In February 2009 Spa N.S. was awarded their first Green Flag by An Taisce at a ceremony in Cork. The Green Flag is awarded to schools that have made a real effort to promote environmental awareness in its area. “It was a real team effort” said Project Coordinator Peter Linehan, “Every one played their part in the success.

That first project was started in early 2008 by forming a committee. The committee decided to focus on the theme ‘Litter and Waste’ because they believed that could make a real improvement in the school in this area.

The children put a fifty point action plan together. They separated their waste and began composting. They shredded excess paper and recycled batteries, stamps, phones and plastics. They designed a special ‘Green Schools Corridor’ in the school.
They held a Christmas recycling day where with the help of Kerry County Council parents could bring their Christmas trees and packaging for shredding.

They also completed a Beach Clean Up nearby and built a mini school garden. “Once the project started, the children really took over. Their enthusiasm was infectious and with such great support from the teaching staff, parents’ council and caretaker Pat Cotter it was a great success,” said Peter. The proof is in the results. In the year the school managed to reduce its weekly waste by a massive 84%.

Michéal Ó Coileáin of the Kerry County Council was loud in his praise of the school’s efforts. “The whole school developed a really well thought out plan and worked so hard to implement it. What they have achieved is superb.” School Principal Tom Crowley said, “Everyone is very proud to have achieved this prestigious award and we are all looking forward to our flag raising ceremony in the next few weeks.”

In May 2009 the school held a speical flag raising ceremony to celebrate the achievement in being awarded the ‘Green flag’ by An Taisce. A large crowd gathered at the school to hear principal at the time Tom Crowley thank the hard working committee made up of pupils, teachers and parents for all their hard work over the past eighteen months and to Kerry footballer Dara O Shea who was on hand to raise the flag to loud cheers from everyone. The parents council served up teas, coffees and goodies for everyone afterwards. A great day was had by all.

Green Flag 2 Energy

Some photographs taken on Action Energy Day in Spa N.S

In order to be awarded the second Green Flag we had to become more ENERGY aware in Spa National School. The Green Schools’ Committee gathered and agreed that we would find ways to save all the non-renewable energy sources which we use in our school.

First, however, we had to find out just what IS energy??!!

Our Energy Action Day   answered all our questions –and more!

On this whole-school activity based day all classes visited 8 different Energy co-ordinators who took them through many varied and fun lessons. We learned that energy is found in many forms and it can change from one form to another. It includes light, heat, chemical and motion energy. The lessons had activities which included everything from making electric currents in order to power lights and little cars (Ms. Kelly and Mr. Griffin) to using our own breaths to blow paint and create beautiful bubble art works and transfer energy from our rapidly moving arms to fly paper planes (Mrs. Linehan). We learned about food energy (Mrs. Griffin-Crowe) and the earth’s most powerful source of energy –the sun (Mr. Morgan). Ms. Ahern had a nice story about energy to tell and Mr. Linehan had us using up all our energy in fun physical exercises while parent and nature enthusiast Amanda Bentley- Curran explained the chemical energy involved in composting. Finally, Mrs. Behan directed everybody in lively and interesting energy [science] experiments. It really was a most informative and fun-filled event.

Initially, Mrs. Foley and Ms. Breen co-ordinated the Green Schools’ Energy theme. They raised awareness by organising the committee to make signs and notices highlighting the importance of turning off lights and inter-active whiteboards when not needed, and shutting external doors and windows when the central heating is switched on. There were poster competitions and links made to curricular work being done in the classes.

Mrs. Linehan, Mrs. Behan and Ms. Ahern continued with the theme the next year. ESB and oil bills were monitored and actions were put in place to improve and reduce consumption. Old toilet windows with broken seals and seized locks were mended or replaced; The insulation in the attic of the older school building was upgraded. Draughty exterior doors were insulated and a strict policy of ‘Keep-the-Doors-Shut!’ was enforced.  Cormac Murphy, parent and environmental engineer, visited the school and spoke about wind turbines and renewable energy resources. It was fascinating. He also demonstrated water energy by setting off water-powered ‘rockets’.  This had the children absolutely enraptured!

This was a very exciting, informative and relevant theme and we are now proud holders of Spa National School’s second Green Flag!

We made planes and rockets.

Green Flag 3 Water

Our Green Notice Board and Green Team

For the past two years we have being busy working on getting our third Green Flag in Spa National School. Raising awareness of water as a very precious but finite resource was our first step in this process. A Whole School Assembly involving fun facts, activities, discussion and experiments was organised. [Did you know we are drinking the same water the dinosaurs drank?!!!] We also explored all the sources of water in the school, what a water meter looks like and how it works, and where we use the most water every day – sinks and toilet flushes, of course. We sent home a survey to see how water-conscious we are:–We take four times more showers than baths, so that’s good news; However many people were unaware that a dishwasher uses far less water than washing-up in the sink and that a leaky tap wastes thousands of litres of water!

Our Water Assembly with Mrs Linehan

 

We all studied about the water cycle, waterways, water pollution and water conservation ideas, etc. in different classes in school. We made raindrop ‘water wishes’, rain-clouds and rainbows in Art. We designed posters for the ‘Be Water Smart’ competition.

In order to save water in school we:-  checked for leaks in the toilets by using a few drops of food-colouring; inserted full plastic water bottles in the toilet cisterns so they use less water now for every flush; We installed water-butts to catch the rainwater and we use this for filling our watering cans to water our plants and school garden; We put basins in the classroom sinks for washing art equipment, etc.; We went down to the nearby beach and did a big clean-up; We are trying to use more environmentally friendly cleaning products in school too.

Our Beach Clean Up Day

We have become much more aware of how lucky we are here to have plenty of water and we want to do our best to conserve it for the future;

 

NEWS FLASH! We have just been awarded our third Green Flag! [Well deserved, I’d say!]

Collecting Green Flag Three in Cork

 

We had too much waste!
Our Green Code kept us going!
All of our efforts paid off!
The Green Flg flies proudly over Spa N.S.

           Beach Clean Up April 2016