FERMOY SCHOOL LEADS THE WAY WITH ‘GREEN’ INITIATIVE
Students at Fermoys Presentation National School are setting the green example with an initiative that will benefit everyone. The junior and senior schools established a committee comprising of students from second to sixth class, with two parents, a local councillor and local gardai, with the whole committee meeting twice a month, and the committee pupils meeting every week.
The school have succeeded in reducing their waste levels dramatically, running numerous initiatives to reduce, reuse and recycle. ‘Lucy Lunch Box’, ‘Tony Tin Foil’ and ‘Charlie Cling Film’ are common characters in the school, with the aim of getting children to use less disposable means of bringing their food and drink to school, and bring a lunch box, a fruit box and a sports cap bottle which they can refill every day.
Teacher Niamh O’Connor, of Presentation N.S, told The Avondhu that, “the aim of our action day was to promote anti litter and waste reduction awareness. We wanted to include the whole school and the local community and decided that all staff and children would wear green clothes to school on Tuesday, March 4th".
Ms O’Connor continued by saying, “We would like to involve the whole community in our efforts to reduce litter levels in the school”.
In the week leading up to the action day a number of competitions were run in conjunction with the green school’s committee. An anti litter poster competition was organised between the classes and pupils from second to sixth class were asked to submit a slogan on the subject of litter and waste reduction.
Each class was asked to carry out an art project using litter and rubbish as a theme. The creative ideas generated and completed works were very impressive. Both the junior and senior halls were decorated with anti litter posters and artwork made from washed and reused rubbish.
The anti litter and ‘waste-busting’ day saw the school take out the rubbish from the school and put it in one big pile, to illustrate the amount of rubbish that such an institution produces on a daily basis. This really hit home with all the staff and students.
Junior pupils participated in a ‘squashathon’ and storytelling session in the morning between 9am and 11am. Each class was given the challenge of squashing recyclable items until they all fitted into a medium sized bin within a set time. They really enjoyed this activity and later the green school’s committee members read a story on the subject of washing and squashing from the ‘reuseaton pack’, with the help of visual aids they made from rubbish.
Fourth-class pupils staged a photography exhibition of Fermoy town’s litter problem in the 1990’s. Old photographs of the worst litter sites were blown up to A4 size and hung in the hall. The pupils went on a field trip to visit these litter black spots to determine if they had improved significantly in the twenty first century. Photographs of recycling activities in the school were also on display.
Pupils then revisited the locations to grade the change, and noticed a massive difference in the cleanliness of the area. The pupils and teachers devised a system to rate different areas by grading them, and they noted a phenomenal change for the better around the town.
The surveys carried out by the green school’s committee throughout the year were on show for all to see. The students also had a slogan competition with the winner, Rachel Crowley, a fourth-class pupil, asking people to ‘keep rubbish at bay and live the healthy way’. The school will now use this green code.
Local litter wardens Margaret O’Mahoney and John Barry, and the environmental officer, Stephen O’Sullivan, both gave presentations to the juniors and seniors to try to deliver the message in a way pupils could relate to. Stephen O’Sullivan, for example, gave a visual presentation and later asked for volunteers to act out a scenario so that every pupil could see how the litter of one individual affects many people. The pupils really enjoyed the drama. They focused on the importance of keeping Fermoy litter free.
Garda Andrew Geary discussed the important issue of vandalism, while Cllr. John Murphy spoke about the work of the tidy town committee. At 2pm the students gathered in the senior hall for the unveiling of the green code.
After this the sixth class pupils staged a fashion show of ‘Rubbish Couture’ which featured a fantastic display of outfits for everyone in the hall. These were made out of everything from cardboard and newspaper, to tin foil, crepe paper, yoghurt cartons and biodegradable refuse sacks.
The school is very grateful to Andrew Geary, Cllr. John Murphy, the litter wardens and a whole host of other people in the community who helped to make this event a huge success. The teachers in the school put in a great effort, but a special mention must go to Niamh O’Connor for her hard work and dedication.
Friday 7th March 6:53pm