Greenschools Project    

St Joseph`s Primary prides itself as a school that promotes a positive attitude towards all issues environmental and has proudly been participating in the Greenschools Project since 2003.

This Greenschools initiative provides a platform for long-term whole-school action for the environment. It is a student led programme with involvement from the wider community and it`s ethos is deeply embedded into the culture of our school.

Green flags achieved to date include:

2004 Waste Management

2006 Energy Awareness

2008 Water

2010 Green Home

2013 Travel

2015 Biodiversity

2017 Global Citizenship- Waste Management

2019 Global Citizenship-Energy Awareness

2021 Global Citizenship- Marine

Green Code 2021: Global Citizenship- Marine

“As Marine life is dying,

We need to start trying,

To find a solution,

To all this pollution!”

by Jessica O’ Neill and Sierra Hogan (4th Class)

Winning entrants for Greencode competition 2020

Marine Environment Conference 2020:

In Jan 2020, 5th & 6th classes travelled to the Marine Hotel, Dún Laoighre to attend the Schools Marine Environment Conference. This conference is an annual event which focuses on the value of our marine environment. Participating schools were invited to exhibit a project relating to an issue concerning marine life. St Joseph`s pupils explored the area of microplastics and were afforded the opportunity to deliver an oral presentation to the audience of their work to date on this particular topic.

A series of activities included listening to “the sounds of the sea” and “colour the coral reef”. This gave the pupils a deeper insight into the importance of conserving the marine environment.

Towards the end of the event, pupils were transported back in time to a sea-faring world with the Howth Singing Circle, who led the group in a lively chorus of sea shanties!

To conclude the day on a positive note, pupils were motivated by a call to action to collectively value and protect the marine environment.

It was a most memorable day and the girls certainly gained a lot from it.

Pupils enjoying the Schools Marine Conference, Marine Hotel, Dún Laoighre

St Joseph`s Walking Bus:

This school initiative involves groups of pupils & available parents walking to school together in an organised, supervised & safe fashion.

All pupils are encouraged to get involved in walking to school as the health benefits to mind & body help them become better learners.

The Walking Bus operates each Wednesday from 2 designated stops:

  • Talavera (Polly’s)
  • Roscrea rd./Priory Place (St Mary`s Church)

Pupils really enjoy & benefit from the happy experience of walking to school.

We are so grateful to the parents who volunteer to help with this worthwhile initiative and keep it going!

Mens sano in corpore sano” (A healthy mind in a healthy body)

St Mary’s Walking Bus 2018

Polly`s Walking Bus 2018

The Outdoor Classroom:

This magnificent initiative was the brainchild of Mr Paddy Madden, environmentalist, who has visited the school on two occasions, delivering environmental workshops to the children.

The project was led by Mr Barry Derby (HSCL) and with Board of Management approval, an agreed site & necessary funds in place, so began Phase 1.

With the support of the local ETB, Mr. Derby began by organising a woodturning class for parents and grandparents, and they carved out the stools for the classroom. The tutor, Para Havatitye, designed and carved the beautiful teacher`s chair.

Next, they were sanded and lacquered by the 6th Class girls to ensure longevity and provide an aesthetically pleasing look for all to enjoy!

Later, with the support of members of the school`s parent body & local multinational company Taylormade, phase 2 commenced.

Taylormade staff, as part of their commitment to community-based projects, were instrumental in providing machinery & personnel to help with this project.

Under the supervision of Mr Joe Shields, the team worked to prepare the soil, dig out the site and screw the stools and teacher`s chair into position.

They remained onsite for a couple of days to ensure its completion to a high standard.

Preparing the site for the outdoor classroom

June 2018: Taylormade staff working on the outdoor classroom at St Joseph`s

Sept 2018: The completed outdoor classroom

Oct 2019: Planting hedging along the perimeter of the outdoor classroom

The final phase was the planting of a hedge around the garden. Mr. Barry Derby, HSCL, again got the support of the parent body to prepare the soil and plant the hedging plants in the Autumn.
The outdoor classroom has brought great joy to the pupils of the school. During the fine weather, classes can use this facility as their classroom. It has greatly enhanced the appearance of the school grounds and we look forward to many more years of outdoor learning!

Oct 2018: Pupils enjoying an outdoor lesson with Ms O`Brien, on an 1950’s celebration day!

Green Depot:

We continue to welcome the following items for recycling at our Recycle Depot:

Batteries, phones, used reading glasses, cereal boxes & used kitchen roll holders

As part of our WEEE pledge, we continue to collect batteries at our Greenschools depot.

These batteries are collected termly and funds raised go towards supporting the Laura Lynn foundation.

Celebrating Cultures Day:

Cultural Diversity too is embraced and celebrated at St Joseph`s. Our current Green school’s theme Global Citizenship lends itself well to this ethos.

Our vision of inclusivity is celebrated through an Action Day entitled “Celebrating Cultures Day”. This special celebration takes place in February, every other year at the school. It involves the whole school community coming together in a festival of colour, flags, food, dress and music. Each nationality is represented by a newcomer pupil from that country. Family members are invited, and may come dressed in their national attire. They too, bring samples of their national dish, together with artefacts or items of interest from their native lands. A large display is decorated for each country which also includes colourful projects completed by the pupils themselves in the lead up to the day. Pupils from all classes are invited to come to the Halla and view these displays, sample the foods and chat generally with newcomer pupils and their families. Our pupils very much enjoy this day and really embrace it. Our last Cultural Day at the school (2018), we celebrated 12 different nationalities including: Poland, Latvia, Italy, England, Thailand, Belarus, China, Slovakia, Bangladesh, South Africa Lithuania and of course, Ireland!

Children`s Ombudsman Mr Niall Muldoon made a visit to the school as a very special guest of honour that day.

Cabragh Wetlands:

Each year, senior classes enjoy an outdoor educational nature excursion to our local wetlands in Cabragh, Thurles.

This outing is supported through funding from the Heritage in Schools scheme and is facilitated by local heritage expert, Jimmy Duggan.

His content includes discussion on the environmental riches of Cabragh, supervised orienteering, identification & exploration of trees, mammals hedgerows and finishes with a cosmic walk.

It is a much anticipated day trip, giving the pupils an opportunity to connect with nature in a fun and engaging manner.

Oct 2018: Visit to Cabragh Wetlands, Thurles

Clothes Recycle Collection:

Our NCBI clothes/textile/mobile phone collection takes place in February each year. This collection may include new and used clothing, shoes, belts, handbags, blankets, sheets, toys etc.

Used mobile phones will also be accepted.

St Joseph`s will accept sacks of used clothing during the school term.

(Currently paused owing to Covid-19)

Biodiversity:

St Joseph`s celebrates being a Biodiversity friendly school! Evidence of this can be seen all around the school grounds and for which we were awarded a green flag in 2015.

Here is a brief account of all ongoing projects in the school which serve to enhance Biodiversity and welcome mini-beasts and insects into the school grounds.

Bug Hotel:

What is a Bug Hotel and why do we need one?

Our gardens are home to a wide range of living creatures. An average garden could hold over 2,000 different species of insect! In fact there are about 10 million species of insect in the world and they all need somewhere to live! With all this diversity of life, it is good to know that there are far more good creatures in our gardens which help us eliminate certain garden pests.

By creating a Bug Hotel we can gently increase the number of these good insects in our garden.

This in turn will help our plants and flowers to grow healthy and strong.

Sadly, certain insects such as the bumblebee and solitary bees are declining in numbers in the wider countryside, so by providing homes, we can contribute to their conservation.

So, if you want to be kind to the planet, you too can start your own bug hotel, in your back garden!

Our Bug Hotel is built entirely from recycled materials. The main structure is old pallets and much of the additional wood was collected up from a carpenter`s workshop. It also houses straw & hay, dry leaves, loose bark and corrugated cardboard. Come and visit our school garden to see it for yourself!

You will see all the tiny creatures who have booked in for the cold winter months; we wish them all a happy stay!!

Composting:

Every member of the school community is involved in composting in one way or another. Fruit peelings, apple buts, banana skins, kitchen paper etc are collected in our compost bins. It is the responsibility of the Greenschools committee to oversee this process and ensure the bins are emptied regularly. Over the course of the school year, pupils can see this organic waste transform into rich fertile compost. This compost is then used to fertilise our flowers and shrubs around the school grounds. The rainwater harvester is too an important feature and is used during the Summer months to water the plants and flowers. The children are involved in all these activities.

Raised Beds:

Each class is assigned a raised bed in early Spring. It is the class`s responsibility to look after it over the course of the harvest season. Pupils enjoy the experience of its` maintenance, from soil preparation to harvesting the crop. Successful harvests of carrots, scallions, green beans, cabbage and lettuce have been enjoyed by the school! Pupils take home produce when harvested. It gives pupils a sense of food origin and teaches them about food cycles from soil to plate. This is a very important lifelong skill for children.

Leaf Mould:

With the help of our kind friend Sonny, we are delighted to show off our new leaf mould!!

Located to the rear of the Bug Hotel we have fenced off a small area which is piled high with rotting leaves. This structure is a home for centipedes, millipedes, hedgehogs and many other mini-beasts or tiny creatures that couldn’t get a room at the hotel!!

We will continue to pile it high with dead leaves over the coming months as these feed and comfort our tiny visitors. Eventually they will rot and decompose, giving us some very rich compost.

Wildflower/Butterfly Garden:

Our Wildflower patch blossomed beautifully over the Summer and when we returned to school in Sept, it was a joy to gaze at all the lovely colourful blooms that had grown so tall! All three raised beds were attracting many butterflies and bees. These bees suck the nectar from the flowers, while at the same time helping biodiversity by pollinating the environs.

National Spring Clean-Up:

Every other year, senior pupils 4th-6th participate in the National Spring Clean-Up.

This initiative is kindly funded by an Taisce and under the supervision of their teachers, pupils make great efforts to clean local amenity Templemore Town Park.

It gives children a sense of pride in their local community while fostering in them, a sense of responsibility towards caring for the environment.

April 2015: Launch of National Spring Clean-Up

 

Further information on the Greenschools Project can be found at www.greenschoolsireland.org