Dominican College Sion Hill is a secondary school with approximately 400 students located in Blackrock, Dublin. The committee consists of the coordinator, caretaker, and two student representatives from each year.
Links to Curriculum
The theme of the marine environment was dealt with across several subject areas. The topic of microplastics and clothes was covered in home economics, the senior years learned environmental vocabulary in Irish class, the transition year students learned about sustainability in chemistry, eco-debates took place in English class and marine-themed posters were created during art class.
As well as making curricular links, the school signed up to lots of competitions, events, and initiatives linked to their Green-Schools work. They took part in Relove Fashion, Neat Streets, and Young Reports for the Environment. They signed up to the National Spring Clean initiative and carried out litter pickups on the school grounds and local areas.
Informing & Involving
Several guest speakers were invited to educate the school community on environmental topics too. A guest speaker was invited to talk about school life and struggles for females in her country (Amina, a student from Tanzania, organised by World Vision). Susan Adams from The Education for Sustainability Institute came in to run a marine litter workshop with 1st years.
Green-Schools Ocean Assembly
In October 2019, the committee attended the Green-Schools Ocean Assembly in Ashbourne Community College. This inspired and educated the committee on how to introduce the topic of the marine environment into the school community. Dominican College Sion Hill was selected as the National Marine Ambassador School for the 2020-2021 academic year, which resulted in them being featured in the Green-Schools newsletter and invited to give a virtual presentation to over 2000 people during Marine Week in April 2021.
The committee also took part in the Green-Schools Marine Film Club. This allowed the students to watch marine-themed documentaries like ‘A Plastic Ocean’ and take part in post-screening discussions and talks by experts. Every year the science students get involved with the Globe international air quality survey analysing nitrogen dioxide levels on the school campus. Thankfully the NO2 levels have always been low!
Day of Action
For their day of action, the committee organised a Swap shop in January 2020. Students brought in old items (clothes, toys, books) in exchange for a ticket. They could then use the ticket to purchase someone else’s items. Bamboo toothbrushes and metal straws were raffled off to raise money for Australian bush fires. The metal straws were gifted by a company that the committee had contacted telling them about their Green-School work. There was also a stand with samples of eco plastic-free period products which linked to the campaign ran in the school toilets promoting these products.
In January 2021, the committee organised a virtual presentation about the link between face mask litter, plastics, and marine waste. Students were asked to create a pic collage of mask litter they found when out walking. Students were encouraged to use their photos to spread awareness about the issues of masks being dumped amongst their family and friends. The best entries were selected, and winners were awarded vegan Fairtrade chocolates and reusable masks with eco-themed prints (homemade by a member of staff).
Social media channels were used to highlight the Green-Schools work and to involve the wider school community.
Following their work on the Global Citizenship Marine Environment theme, there was an excellent level of awareness in the school regarding the marine environment, the threats it faces, and what people can do to protect it.
Our reps developed their presentation skills while feeding back information during tutor class and the marine primary schools’ conference. We enjoyed thinking creatively whilst planning competitions and awareness campaigns. Our swap shop event in our first year of the flag was a wonderful success. However, we couldn’t repeat this in year two due to covid restrictions. We loved seeing students and staff using their Sion Hill water bottles and reusable face masks. It was an honour to be chosen as the Marine Ambassador school 2020/2021. Gillian Kaye, Green-Schools Coordinator.