Green-Schools & Irish Water launch sixth year of partnership
Following the drought of Summer 2018, Irish Water is delighted to once again sponsor the An Taisce Green-Schools Water theme for the sixth year running. School children across Ireland saved over 389 million litres of water last year, the equivalent of over 450 million cups of coffee, due to their participation in the Green-Schools programme.
The water theme encourages primary and secondary school children to develop their awareness around water conservation and how to effectively manage this important resource in our schools and homes.
To date over 2,300 schools have been awarded the water flag since the beginning of the Green-Schools programme and there are currently 575 schools, with every county represented, working on this important theme.
Speaking about the launch of this year’s campaign, Kate Gannon, Irish Water said:
“We are delighted to continue our sponsorship of the Green-Schools Water award. This year’s ‘Conserve water’ theme is an extremely important message following our own national campaign this summer urging people to conserve water in every way possible as the drought had a severe impact on our raw water reserves. We are also looking forward to being co-sponsors of the 25th Anniversary International Eco-Schools Conference in November in Cork, which is being hosted by An Taisce Green-Schools, where over 100 delegates from 70 countries will attend.”
Green-Schools Manager Cathy Baxter added:
“This partnership with Irish Water has seen the level of support for schools working on the Water theme increase dramatically over the years, with a particular highlight being the student Ambassador programme. We are so inspired by the work done each year on the Water theme by teachers, caretakers and students all over the country and I’m looking forward to another fantastic year ahead.”
The Green-Schools water programme has an exciting academic year lined up with a series of Water Forums, Walk for Water events, Water Ambassador Support Sessions, a poster competition and a prestigious awards ceremony, which will announce the Water Schools of the Year.
An Taisce Green Schools and Irish Water visited St. Nathy’s College, Ballaghaderreen in Co Roscommon to launch the 2018/2019 sponsorship of the Water theme. St. Nathy’s were the Western Regional Winners of the ‘Water School of the Year’ in 2018 and to celebrate their continuation of the Green-Schools Water theme, they were presented with a 210L water butt. The water butt, which will harvest rainwater during times of reduced precipitation, will enable the school to water the crops in their poly tunnel grower.
Irish Water this year revealed that the average person uses 129 litres of water per day and this water butt will help the St. Nathy’s students save the equivalent of almost two days of an average person’s water usage.
As well as earning the title of Western Regional Water School of the Year, Marita O’Hanlon of St. Nathy’s College was the overall winner of the 2018 poster competition for secondary schools. Her interpretation of the theme ‘Water and the Environment’ was depicted through a surrealist image of a world in a water crisis. Marita joined the event to speak to Green-Schools and Irish Water about the poster competition and what tips she has for next year’s applicants.
2018/2019 Green-Schools Water theme events
The Water Ambassador programme is sponsored by Irish Water and be in operation since 2015. The free programme is tailored for secondary school students from schools who are working on, or have already completed, the Water theme. Students are asked to apply to become ambassadors and those that are successful attend a one-day training event in November in Cork, Dublin or Athlone; a beach clean-up in January/February in Dublin, Galway or Cork; and a support session in March in Dublin, Athlone or Cork. 57 students were named Green-Schools Water Ambassadors and 4 Regional Ambassadors In 2017/18. Their continued work to educate and inspire their peers on water as a resource to conserve extends to the greater community.
Now in its sixth year, the poster competition aims to recognise the individual student’s creativity through art and design. Irish Waters continued support of the competition offers students a chance to win a cash prize for their school and a tablet computer. This year’s poster theme is ‘Conserve Water’ and the competition is open to all primary and secondary schools working towards, or have already completed, the Water theme. Green-Schools are looking for innovative and creative designs which promote, inspire and identify ideas around water conservation.
Water School of the Year
Green-Schools together with Irish Water recognise the dedication and innovation shown by schools that are receiving the internationally recognised Green Flag for Water. The primary and secondary schools who have achieved success in reducing their water consumption, spreading awareness about water issues and involving their community in their programme will be considered for the prestigious Water School of the Year award.
Walk for Water
Green-Schools water schools participate in an annual ‘Walk for Water’ in three locations around Ireland on Friday, March 22 2019 in Glenveagh National Park, Gougane Barra and Glendalough. The students walk six kilometres carrying six litres of water to highlight water scarcity and experience the journeys travelled every day by women and children to access clean water in countries with issues of water scarcity. The theme of this year’s World Water Day celebration is ‘Leaving No One Behind’, which links with the sustainable development goal of ensuring access to water and sanitation for all.
The 22 Water Forums are student led interactive workshops which are delivered throughout Ireland to Green-Schools currently on the water theme. The workshops have a range of activities to engage participants and provide an opportunity for students to share their ideas and knowledge as well as learning how to successfully carry out the water theme and future themes. Dates for the Forums can be found here.