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St Anne's raise seventh Green Flag

Thursday, 2 November 2017

St Anne's raise seventh Green Flag thumbnailSt Anne's Special School in Roscrea raised their seventh Green Flag at a ceremony at the school on Friday last, the first Special School in Ireland to achieve all existing seven Green Flag Awards

ST Anne's Special School in Roscrea raised their seventh Green Flag at a ceremony at the school on Friday last, the first Special School in Ireland to achieve all existing seven Green Flag Awards.

Honoured guests for the occasion were Sr Margaret Dobbin (Chairperson BOM), the Green Flag Committee and Mr Charles Stanley Smith, Director An Taisce.

The Green Flag was blessed by Fr Kieran Blake and the flag was then hoisted by Jason Healy and Amy Whelan.

Mr Jim McMahon (Principal) welcomed everyone to this special celebration as they gathered to formally raise their Seventh Green Flag Award from An Taisce in recognition of their completion of a seven steps programme designed to provide the school community and beyond with the knowledge, skills and values to participate as active global citizens who are concerned with local and worldwide energy and climate issues.

Pupils from St. Anne's school led the gathering in that joyful hymn, 'I Belong' which they believe reflects the building and the shaping of communities of gentleness, of justice and of peace that witness the empowering love of God as expressed in the Mission Statement of their school Trustees.

Mr McMahon said that "in November 2015, the children, the staff, the parents and the Board of Management of St Anne's school embarked upon a journey to update our existing Green Flag Award based on the new theme of Global Citizenship - Energy. The challenge to the school was to revisit the school's previous efforts to engage in practicable energy conservation practices and to simultaneously explore energy and climate issues worldwide."

A newly elected Committee comprised of: Teachers: Marie Irvine and Jim Mc Mahon, Ancillary staff members: Maura Byrne and Cronan Rowan, Parent representative: Mary Heaney and Senior students: Jason Healy and Amy Whelan, which fulfilled the requirement of Step 1 to establish a Green Schools Committee as outlined in the recommended seven steps programme by An Taisce.

"Initially, the committee completed a brainstorming session to identify the qualities that characterise a Global Citizen. In due course the Committee formulated the following definition:

- Someone who is aware of the wider world.

- Someone who is aware of their role as a world citizen.

- Someone who is prepared to act to make the world more sustainable.

"Additionally, discussions were undertaken as to how we could involve the whole school community and beyond with the very real global issues of responding to poverty and hunger and how to support a sustainable water and food programme for all citizens throughout the world," said Mr McMahon.

"Very quickly, the Committee moved onto Step 2 as they reviewed the previous themes of the Green Schools Programme which included the management and review of:

- Litter and Waste,

- Energy,

- Water,

- Travel,

- Biodiversity.

- Global Citizenship - Litter and Waste

"Additionally, a Global Awareness Survey was undertaken and research into the numbers of nationalities present in the school.

"By now the Committee was ready to progress onto Step 3 as they developed the following Action Plan:

- Completion of an environmental review.

- Completion of Global Awareness Survey.

- Registration for National Heritage Week 2016/17.

- Registration for Irish aid Awards 2016/17

- Participation in Tidy Towns Competitions 2016/17.

- Participation in National Spring Cleaning Programmes 2016/17.

- Notices to parents.

- Registration with Agri-Awareness for 'Incredible Edibles' 2016/17.

- Preparation and planting of spring/summer flowers 2016/17.

- Registration with the Crocus Project 2016/17 which was designed to remember the death of all children in World War II including children from Jewish descent.

- Updating of Green Schools Notice Boards.

- Research carbon footprint of individual food items.

- Family participation in supporting an Energy Saving Pledge to make at least one energy saving action in the livingroom, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and garden.

- Action Day 2016/17.

- Installation of new energy boiler to provide better control modulation and a higher efficiency heating system to heat the school building.

"All objectives were closely monitored and evaluated throughout 2016 and 2017 and this process completed Step 4 of our programme.

"At this stage the Committee was ready to gently ease all class groups onto Step 5 which encouraged an engagement with the theme of Global Citizenship - Energy through thematic integrated teaching approaches. With this outpouring of new information the Committee was in a position to engage with Step 6 in the 7 Step Programme entitled: Informing and Involving. An integral aspect of this Step facilitated the planning of Action Days in March 2016 and 2017 which provided an array of fun events involving song, music, drama and art competitions. Additionally, funds were raised by way of a 'Wear Yellow Day' to support the Trócaire Lenten Campaigns in 2016 and 2017 which aimed to join the fight for justice. Parents, staff, children and the local community were regularly updated on these developments.

"All our 7 Steps in the Green Schools Programme were now complete and we were delighted to host an inspection visit from Ms Catherine Broderick, Environmental Awareness Officer Tipperary County Council, who in turn forwarded her very favourable assessment report to An Taisce, Ireland.

"My dear friends, following a review of this report by An Taisce it is with great pride that I can now inform you that St. Anne's School is the first Special School in Ireland to achieve all existing seven Green Flag Awards from this prestigious body!

"I would now unreservedly seek to send out an unequivocal and resounding message of congratulations to each and every member of our Green Flag Committee, of our staff, to our children, to our parents and to the members of our Board of Management who wholeheartedly supported the implementation of this continuing inspirational programme of sustainable lifestyle practices.

"To all concerned, I say a sincere and genuine 'thank you' and I would call upon everyone present here today to give them all three hearty cheers of appreciation.," concluded Mr McMahon.

 

Green Code Statement

All aboard the energy train,

To save our planet is our aim,

So flick that switch or save some rain,

Sustaining energy is our game!

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