St. Joseph’s achieved our first Green Flag for Recycling in 2013. In the school, we encouraged teachers to use scrap paper for artwork, designed posters relating to the theme of reusing and recycling, asked teachers to try to reduce the amount of photocopying done and photocopy on both side of the paper, planted seeds in the school garden, visited the Local Recycling Centre and conducted many challenges in classrooms to reduce waste. We continue our work on this flag by taking part in litter picking with the Tidy Towns, monitoring classrooms and rewarding classes who make an effort with their bins, use recycled materials for art projects and encourage pupils to take home their waste with them.
We achieved our 2nd Green Schools Flag for Energy in 2017. During this time, we collected regular readings from our gas and electricity meters, we conducted energy audits in classrooms and classroom challenges, all classes allocated a light detective, we participated in National Spring Week, visited a windfarm, set up Walk On Wednesdays, held an energy quiz, organised a Low Energy Day and many more activities. We continue to work on this flag by reminding classes to turn off appliances when they are not being used, turning off lights when not needed, keep doors closed to keep in the heat, heating on timer for certain hours in the day, lights that turn off automatically in New Building, we encourage children to walk to school when the weather is fine.
We received our 3rd Green Flag for Water in 2019. To achieve this flag, we took water meter readings, visited the Water Treatment Plant, had a visit from Niall Cronin from the treatment plant, set up water warriors in each class to turn off taps, encouraged the use of reusable bottles in the classroom, gave weekly water usage tips at assembly, created water related songs for the school to learn and enjoy, held competitions to design posters on our theme, encouraged the use of a water basin in the sink when cleaning art materials or recyclable products. We continue to work on this flag by collecting rainwater in our rainwater harvester that can be used to wash out art, encourage each child to have a reusable water bottle in school, we continue to take part in Climate Action Week each year.
We are currently working on our Green Flag for Travel. The aim of this flag is to try to use more environmentally friendly ways to travel to school. We have sent out surveys to each family to see how children in our school currently travel to school and will compare our results with those we have at the end of the two years. With the help our designated Travel Officer, we have conducted a Walkability Audit of the school and sent some suggestions to the council or improvements that could be made to improve safety when walking. We took part in Climate Action Week and completed lots of activities in each of the classes. Our Green Schools Committee have created a Green Schools song based on the theme. Each class is working on our art competition and slogan challenge. Winners of our competition will be announced in February. Our Travel Officer visited the school to talk to the classes about our flag and the impact of Climate Change. We have lots more exciting things coming up in the next few months to encourage sustainable travel in our school.