Knockbeg Environmentalists inspired by flooding
As part of the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards (YEA) judging process ECO-UNESCO staff visit schools and youth groups around Ireland to see the inspiring ECO-Action being taken by young people. On her first stop YEA coordinator Sandy McGroarty visits the students of Knockbeg College in Carlow…
I set off on the train from Dublin to Carlow to make my first site visit of the 2010 Young Environmentalist Awards. It was one of the warmest days so far this year and I enjoyed watching the landscape move from urban cityscape to the rural countryside. I imagined how the flat landscape around Carlow looked during the extensive period of flooding over Christmas which had inspired the group I was about to visit to look at the issue of water management in their community. This led them to carry out an action project which was entered into the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards and focused on the issues of water conservation and pollution.
Once I met the group, we went to see the rainwater collection tanks they purchased from funds raised through a no-uniform day and fitted as part of their ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards action project. As one of the group pointed out, these tanks are relatively self-sufficient and would not be at risk of being forgotten about as pupils changed and moved on from Knockbeg. They were helped by their caretaker after the group helped with yard clear up and other jobs the caretaker had.
The group went on to show me their project and the many steps involved in its completion. They carried out extensive research before they decided on an action. As part of this they carried out a school wide survey researching water use and awareness of the issues. They then decided to put up signs around the school and have a no-uniform day to raise awareness and funds which allowed them to purchase the rainwater collectors. They even had letters published in the local newspapers. Overall, the group felt that they learned many valuable skills such as teamwork, communication and research, and had lots of fun doing such a worthwhile project. They will pass on the responsibility to the green school’s committee so that their project can continue after they are gone, therefore making it sustainable.
Their teacher Mrs. Anne Marie Buckley has been involved in the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards for many years and has witnessed groups enter the awards with some even going on to win not just a category but the overall title. She has high hopes for this year’s group and looks forward to attending the showcase on Wednesday 12 th May. I left Knockbeg feeling very happy inside and inspired to get a rainwater tank for myself… it’s just a pity I can’t have a no-uniform day in the office to raise funds!
Don’t forget to come and see the fantastic project carried out by Knockbeg College while it’s on display at the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Showcase and Awards in the Mansion House, Dublin. The Showcase will be open to the public from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm on May 12!