On Tuesday 21st June our Green Team along with teachers Naomi and Ciara took a visit to the local beach ‘Seapoint beach’ in Termonfeckin County Louth. We left the school at around 10 o’clock.
Naomi ran through a few rules before we went: no picking up litter by any means as we have litter pickers, stay together and don’t leave the area, return to Naomi when she blows the whistle and don’t go off by oneself anytime. The team understood well and away we went on our trip. We travelled by bus to the beach in County Louth welcomed by sunshine. We arrived at the beach around 10:20 a.m. and arranged with the driver to be collected in an hour.
All the Green team members had partners to work with. The children found a comfy spot on some rocks to do some work on clipboards. They filled out what they expected to hear and to see on the beach today. The children expected to see many things such as sand, stones, the sea, cans, pebbles, bottles, shells, bags, seagulls, lifebuoys, litter, seaweed and dogs. The children enjoyed thinking about what they were going to see in their partners. Naomi explained a little about the effects of litter on marine life.
The children then put their clipboards away and took their gloves, national spring clean covers and litter pickers with them to start the clean up. i We then decided to do a ‘2 minute’ beach clean in sections. Naomi blew the whistle to allow children to run around the designated area collecting as much litter as they could in two minutes. Naomi had read about An Taisce’s Clean Coasts initiative of doing a ‘2 minute’ beach clean and thought it a great idea as anyone can clean in 2 minutes and thought it was useful for children to collect litter in a practical way that they can promote amongst family and friends at home and at school. An Taisce says ‘We have all seen the evidence of marine litter along Ireland’s coastline and now for all you beach lovers out there here’s an opportunity to do something about it in just 2 minutes!’.
After covering a few section s of the beach we returned to our comfy rocks to record what we had seen. We saw many lifebuoys on the beach. However, we all noticed that there were no litter signs. We all agreed that more signs to remind people to stop littering and more bins should be around the beach. We found all sorts of litter and things on the beach such as plastic, metal, glass and wood. The children were surprised that in such a short space of time we collected so much litter. We even found socks, gloves and a hat down there!!! We all agreed that it was sad and upsetting to see the beach like that. A few even expressed their anger that people are leaving the beach in this way.
The children have said that when they go to the beach next time with family/friends they will bring a bag to clean up after themselves. The Green Team will also design posters to remind everyone in the school to tidy up for 2 minutes next time at the beach!
We had a very successful day as we came back with 4 big bags of litter. The children enjoyed their responsibility today and did a fantastic job. They were enthusiastic and eager always to help out. They behaved exceptionally well and we received some really nice comments from passers by on the beach about the work we were doing. Ciara and Naomi took some excellent photos that I am sure you will all like to explore. Remember next time you are on the beach clean up as it doesn’t take long, just 2 minutes. We want to protect our beaches to make them safe and clean places for our friends and family to enjoy.
From The Green Team
Water Flag 2016/17
As you all know we received our Energy flag from An Taisce in 2015. We hope to achieve our next goal in 2017 which will be the Water Flag. The Green Committee and the whole school have been working hard to achieve this. We continue to work on litter which was awarded in 2013 and energy as it is a combination of all needed for our school to be environmentally friendly. In September a new committee was formed which includes a chairperson and a secretary. We usually meet on a fortnightly or monthly basis.
I just want to update you all on all the work from the Green Committee. We have been busy making sure to empty our compost bin and do litter picking daily. Every lunch and break time the energy squad and leaky detectives make sure all lights, projectors and computers are switched off or on standby to waste less energy. Also they check leaky taps and ensure they are switched off. The children also make sure that doors are closed. We have a checklist on all doors to inform teachers if they are being energy efficient.
We are currently working towards our Water Flag. In working towards this we had our Water Action day on the 11th March 2016. In the lead up to the day the children in each class carried out experiments suitable for their age and ability levels: tornado in a bottle, design a boat, floating and sinking and cleaning dirty water.
The children also engaged in waterproof bingo, sorting waterproof and not waterproof, green bottle lotto and other fun games in their classrooms. The staffroom was the central point for all teachers to borrow equipment. The children composed raps on saving water. The aim of the day and the week leading up was to raise children’s awareness of how to save energy at home and at school. The children signed pledges to save water in the lead up to the day.
I will now discuss the day itself. The day was timetabled so that each class group had 15 minutes in the gym hall. There were 4 stations a water walkway in which the children went along the path reading water saving tips and water saving actions. Then there was a station of water games and water experiments for the children to explore in which members of the Green Committee took charge of. Then the children went outside to take part in an ‘over under’ activity with a watery twist in which the children had to say a water saving tip or action before they could pass the ball under or over to the next member of their team. Some classes also participated in a relay race carrying water to and from designated points trying not to lose any water in the process. Then the children went back into the Gym hall to look at all their watery work displayed. This included footprints, surveys, fish art with water colours, water raps and water saving posters. The children won prizes for effort. A boy and girl from each class level were selected. There were also certificates for winners of the game. The children were amazed at the transformation of the hall. They really enjoyed the day and most importantly had lots of fun! The idea behind a day like this is to get everyone involved in the day. A big thank you to all the staff who helped organise the day and helped with displays.
We also had a watery hat parade in which the children used recycled materials to create a hat with a watery theme which you will see in the pictures. It was amazing to see the effort made. This kind of work strengthens the link between home and school of recycling and saving water.
The children really enjoyed the activities as the pictures will show. The next thing on our agenda is to raise global awareness of water and to have a beach clean up in the upcoming months when the weather is becoming warmer. We also plan on having a water quiz to determine the children’s knowledge and awareness of watery issues.
We have a notice board with lots of interesting work from the children. It includes surveys on the use of water at home. It also includes in-school surveys. Some of the pledges are on display. We have the footprints that children have made which created our water walkway on Water Action Day. They include ideas action tips from the children on how to save water. Please take a look as you walk into the school it is located just around the corner from the office. It is bright and colourful.
Everyone is making a huge effort around the school to save energy and water and to manage waste and litter. We feel very proud of the children.
Thanks for all the support and help, we will keep you updated on events.