David McCann Tue 04 Jul 2017
Northern Ireland schools continue to excel in the international Eco-Schools programme, achieving a record number of Green Flag awards for the 6th consecutive year and awarding their 1000th Green Flag.
Eco-Schools is the world's leading environmental education programme. It is a pupil-led initiative with the aim to make environmental awareness and practical action an intrinsic part of school life.
Eco-Schools is operated by environmental charity, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, which is dedicated to inspiring everyone to help make Northern Ireland a cleaner, greener and healthier place in which to live. The programme which has gone from strength-to-strength in recent years is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
This year marked a landmark moment when Walker Memorial Primary School, Dungannon, received their first Green Flag and Northern Ireland’s 1000th Green Flag.
Diane Lockhart, Eco-Coordinator at Walker Memorial Primary School said: “The children were totally delighted that we got the 1000th Green Flag. All pupils are very involved with the areas of the Eco-Committee’s action plan it has brought these areas of learning alive. Pupils are highly motivated, inspired and focused to partake in lessons related to Eco-Schools. The programme provides pupils with another avenue of learning, those who are more practical and creative thrive on being involved in identifying the needs of the school and sharing their ideas for future action.”
Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful added:
With support from the Department, Local Councils and many other partners, Eco-Schools is engaging our young people, who will be the next generation of business and political leaders, in developing eco-friendly behaviours that also help our economy. The programme is growing every year with more and more schools and young people making a real, tangible and positive impact on our environment through saving energy, reducing waste, picking up litter, travelling sustainably, providing biodiversity habitats and much more. Congratulations to Walker Memorial and all our schools who have achieved their Green Flag award; together we have reached this landmark 1000th Green Flag.’
This school year 149 schools achieved the prestigious, internationally recognised Green Flag award in recognition of the excellent progress they have been making in protecting the environment and moving towards a more sustainable future. The first Green Flag in the world was awarded to Downpatrick Nursery School in 1994. Since then the programme has consistently grown. There has been a year-on-year increase in the number of schools achieving the award for the 7th year in a row - increasing from 55 in 2010/11 to 97 in 2011/12; 103 in 2012/13; 114 in 2013/14; 128 in 2014/15; 136 in 2015/16 and now 149 in 2016/17.