Scoil Bhríde Eglantine

Scoil Bhríde Eglantine is a Primary School on the Douglas Road in Cork City. It has 550 students and over 24 staff. They were awarded their Green Flag for Biodiversity in May 2016.

Step 1: Committee

The Committee is made up of Students representing the senior end of this large school, along with three Teaching Staff and the school Caretaker.  They meet fortnightly.

Step 2: Environmental Review

Before making changes to the school environment, Scoil Bhríde’s Green-Schools Committee carried out all “Essential” parts of the Environmental Review including:

  • Carrying out a Biodiversity Awareness Survey;
  • Compiling a Habitat Map of the school grounds, prior to implementing any actions; and
  • Revisiting the previous themes and identify links to the theme of Biodiversity.

Having carried out these surveys the Committee identified the following short-comings:

A lack of:

  • Understanding among staff and students about biodiversity and its importance.
  • Native shrubs and plants suitable for butterflies and bees.
  • Spring and summer bulbs.
  • Suitable feeding and sheltering opportunities for birds on the school grounds.

They also noticed:

  • The presence of an invasive species; the winter flowering heliotrope, on the school grounds.
  • Some non native structurally dangerous trees in the school grounds (needing removal).


Image 1: Scoil Bhríde’s Habitat Map – a survey of habitats, carried out at the school (BEFORE any action is taken) –a key component of the Environmental Review

Step 3: Action Plan

Scoil Bhríde’s Committee carried out all of the ‘Recommended Actions’ for the Biodiversity theme, by including the following tasks on their own Green-Schools Action Plan:

  • Built raised beds
  • Created a Log Pile
  • Planted a tree
  • Erected bird-feeders
  • Monitored the birds visiting the bird feeders
  • Contacted a member of the Cork County Council with a view to removing invasive species.
  • Created a Leaf Pile
  • Planted Bulbs
  • Informed the School community and the Board of Management of progress
  • Created Bug B&Bs
  • Ran a Competition for the Green-Schools Code
  • Prepared flowerbeds and plant new shrubs
  • Took photographs of work and did a write-up for the Newspaper
  • Mapped and Planted a wild garden area on the school grounds
  • Took a fieldtrip to Douglas Estuary to do a comparative study of the habitat there
  • Organised an Action Day
  • Planted vegetables in raised bed
  • Invited Guest Speakers to the school
  • Planted summer-flowering plants

Step 4: Monitoring and Evaluation

  • Repeated Awareness Surveys.
  • Repeated the Habitat Map survey.
  • Monitored and evaluated progress in the new areas of biodiversity.
    • Mini-beasts – The 3rd Classes monitored the species visiting the bug hotels.
    • Birds – The 4th Classes have been logging their sightings of birds on a daily basis.
 Image 2: Year 2 Habitat Map – a survey of habitats, carried out at the school (after action was taken) – it is an essential component of the Monitoring and Evaluation Step.


 Figure 1: Biodiversity Awareness Survey Results – from BEFORE (during the Environmental Review) and AFTER actions were taken to improve awareness and biodiversity levels in the school.


 Image 3: Results of Bird Species Monitoring by 3rd Class

Scoil Bhríde worked hard to continue to improve in all areas of previous Green-Schools themes. Examples of just some of their ongoing work on these themes are listed below:

Litter & Waste

  • Each class has a litter monitor
  • Each classroom has three bins for waste segregation and a “re-use paper” box.
  • Polystyrene cups are no longer used at school; each student brings their own reusable cup.
  • Litter wardens have been appointed for the yard.


  • Installed energy saving light bulbs throughout the school.
  • A ‘Green Button’ Campaign has been introduced in the school this year. This allows the computers to enter Hibernate mode simply by pressing the F12 Key when not in use.
  • Each classroom has an energy checklist so that the class can monitor their energy use.
  • An ‘Energy monitor’ in each class ensures that the checklist is adhered to.


  • Each Friday committee members take the reading from the water meter.
  • The school are aiming to reduce water usage to 18 cubic metres by the end of June 2016.
  • Each class has a water monitor who checks toilets, taps and radiators for leaks regularly.
  • A water butt was installed in the school in January.


  • Feet First Friday is held monthly – The ‘Golden Boot’ and ‘Silver Skate’ are awarded to the most successful class in each area each month.
  • Results are displayed regularly.
  • Feedback is sought from parents and local residents.
  • In the finer months there is a parent-led walking bus on Fridays

Step 5: Curriculum Work

Subject Environmental Issue Covered
English Poetry:

  • A Spike of Green,
  • Birds on the School Window Sill,
  • Wind on the Leaves.
  • Spiders and Flies


  • The Fox,
  • The Camel,
  • The Blue Whale,
  • Language- promoting communication skills through informing and explaining to parents about projects and displays.
Gaeilge Dán: An tEarrach,
  • Measuring growth of plants.
  • Graphing birds who visit our yard
  • Species studies:
  • Squirrels, Barn owls, Polar bears, Dolphins, Penguins, Spiders, Fox,
  • Seasons:
  • Signs of winter, Signs of spring, A year in the life of a tree
  • Other:
  • Baby animals and their mothers.
  • Reforestation (planting more Christmas trees) & identifying parts of plants.
  • Parts of the fish
  • Habitats
  • Flora, parts of the plant (from bud to apple)
  • Harvesting from the vegetable garden,
  • Seeds,
  • Bird watching in the school yard.
  • Deforestation
  • Mini-beasts – learning through observation – Bug hunt
  • Environmental Awareness
  • Recycling
  • Trip to the recycling centre.
  • Water in its many forms.
  • Weather watch.
  • Migration of the Golden Plover from Iceland,
  • Farming: Developing awareness of plants/animals in the farm environment.
  • Local natural environment.
  • Water Conservation
  • Examining species and habitats and creating habitat projects – see appendices
History Farming: then and now.
SPHE Media Education / Submitting articles to local paper
  • Leaf printing.
  • Leaf rubbings and water colours.
  • Painting Trees
  • Creating Environmental Awareness Posters
Music Songs: Five little Christmas trees and Song about the Rain.
P.E. Dance : ‘The Life-cycle of the Butterfly’


Step 6: Informing and Involving

Held an Action Day:

  • Held a guided tour of a photographic exhibition, biodiversity displays, projects and models for parents.
  • Junior Classes took part in a biodiversity art competition and a spring cleanup.
  • Middle Classes took part in a ‘snap me’ trail where they were guided by 6th class children. They took photos of biodiversity linked items e.g. plants, animals and habitats on i-Pads.
  • Senior Classes took part in a table quiz and a treasure hunt to collect letters which would spell ‘biodiversity’.

Involving the whole school community

  • Committee members are assigned a class to keep informed.
  • Committee members speak to the School Assemblies each month.
  • Website is kept up to date
  • Green-Schools Committee staff members give regular updates at staff meetings.
  • Each class has an “Energy Monitor”, an “Interactive-whiteboard monitor”, a “Litter Monitor” and a “Water Monitor” actively promoting awareness.
  • 6th class pupils act as litter wardens in the school yard.
  • All classes participate in our FFF (Feet First Friday).
  • Senior classes have responsibility for different biodiversity initiatives – e.g. bug hotels, bird feeders, etc
  • Board of Management – informed and updated regularly.
  • Newspaper Photographers are invited to Green-Schools events (the committee were featured in the Evening Echo!)

Step 7: Green Code

‘For all species, including you and me, Biodiversity is the Key’

The Green Schools Committee visited all of the classes from 4th – 6th to explain the concept of a Green Code for biodiversity and to announce a competition to select the school biodiversity code.


“Children enjoyed the hands on activities and learned many new skills and pastimes, for example; bird watching and gardening which they will carry through to adulthood.”

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