Students from Irish and Northern Irish secondary schools spent Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, October 15 and 16, learning about our seas and oceans at two Green-Schools events in Meath and Dublin as part of Climate Action Week. On Tuesday, Ireland’s first Ocean Assembly for secondary students was held in Ashbourne Community College and on Wednesday, students from St. Colm’s High School, Draperstown, Derry joined Green-Schools at Portmarnock for the launch of the ‘Sea Starts Here’ campaign to combat litter pollution.

On Tuesday, seven schools took part in Green-Schools first secondary school event celebrating the marine environment, at Ireland’s first Marine Ambassador School, Ashbourne Community School. Presentations on the day included Google Science Fair winner Fionn Ferreira, and Dr. Paul Brooks, a marine ecologist working with UCD. The ambassador school advised participating schools on the seven steps of the Green-Schools programme, gave a tour of their school and presented a talk on social media and environmental campaigns.


Spray paint and stencils!

On Wednesday, St. Colm’s High School students came to Portmarnock beach for ocean activities and the launch of Green-Schools’ newest campaign ‘The Sea Starts Here’. This campaign aims to raise awareness about how litter dropped on land ends up at sea. With the permission of Fingal County Council, students and Green-Schools staff used stencils to spray paint the ‘sea starts here’ message at road drains, drawing attention to the link between land-based activities and marine pollution. The students also learned about life on the rocky shore and enjoyed a seaweed tasting experience and yoga.

Cathy Baxter is the Green-Schools Manager: “We have enjoyed two exceptional days of learning about our seas and oceans and what we can do to prevent further pollution. The enthusiasm of our secondary school students cannot be underestimated; they are so keen to learn more and more about their environment and climate change and what they can do to help. We have to say a special word of thanks to the teachers and students of Ashbourne Community College, our first Marine Ambassador School, for their generosity hosting Tuesday’s event and continued dedication to Green-Schools.”

In partnership with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the events were open to secondary schools taking part in the Green-Schools Marine Environment theme, which encourages schools to discover how their work on the Green-Schools programme has positively, influenced people and their local environment while focusing on our oceans and seas. There are currently 16 secondary schools working on the Marine Environment theme in Ireland.