Gaelscoil Thiobraid Arann 'Coiste Glas' (Green Committee holding their first Green Flag Committee with guest Alan Quinlan. Front Row: Lusaí Nic Craith, Saoirse Ní Riain, Lexi Nic Ghiollasheáin, Fin
The Gaelscoil Thiobraid Arann celebrated receiving its first Green Flag with festive party at the school with special guest former Ireland rugby star Alan Quinlan.
The Gaelscoil's environmental journey began two years ago when Muinteoir Máiread Ní Fhathaigh spearheaded a campaign to chase the first green flag for the school.
The theme for the first green flag was ‘Litter and Waste’ and this involved examining the impact of litter and waste on the environment and explored practical means for reducing and minimising the amount of litter and waste produced by the school.
Under the stewardship of Muinteoir Máiread, a 'Coiste Glas' (Green Committee) was established with representation from each class. They immediately set about mapping litter black spots in the school, weighing the waste leaving the school each fortnight and monitoring student habits regarding litter and waste. An action plan was developed and set into action. Each room had a paper recycling bin and a compost bin for fruit and vegetable waste. This was emptied to the recycling wheelie bin and the main composter in the school garden on a rota system, which involved each student in the senior classes accompanied by their younger 'buddy' from a junior class. The Coiste Glas would have continuously weighed the amount of waste leaving the school to ensure that the plan was working. Their progress was catalogued in great detail in their journal that was presented to the Green Schools inspector on her visit to the school.
Green School Coordinator Muinteoir Mairéad also organised a clean up of the area around Knockanrawley. “We got great support from Tipperary Town Council who supplied us with gloves, litter pickers, rubbish bags and they collected all the rubbish once we had finished.”
The Green Flag was finally presented to the Gaelscoil at a special ceremony on a beautiful May morning in Kilkenny city. Muinteoir Mairéad and the Coiste Glas brought the flag back to the Gaelscoil for the first time. At the school’s celebratory event, the pupils sang a special environmental song and some of the students played some tunes on the fiddle to entertained the guests.
“We are very grateful to Alan Quinlan who immediately agreed to come along on the big day to raise the Green Flag,” said Principal Eoghan Breathnach.
“Alan heralded the trojan work by all the students and staff in obtaining the 'Brat Glas' for the school and paid particular testament to Múinteoir Mairéad who put so much energy and time into the project.' It's been a great experience for all of us here at the Gaelscoil, incorporating teamwork, cooperation and it cross-linked with many curricular subjects.”
The Green Schools programme is a long-term project and Muinteoir Máiréad is already planning an assault on the second Green Flag with the theme of 'energy' at its core.
“We'll need plenty of that to keep up with this committee,” added Principal Eoghan Breathnach.