Supporting a Green Curriculum

Two people at a school sign
Louise and Brendan Duffy

Environmental education is an important aspect of our school curriculums. Crana College has had a Green Schools Committee in place since 2016. It is coordinated by teachers Brendan and Louise Duffy and in this blog Louise tells us a bit about their work with the Green Schools Committee this year.

The committee in its infancy was very vibrant and introduced a number of initiatives into Crana College from the years 2016-2020 which successfully earned the school its first two Green Flags for Litter and Waste and Energy Consumption. The committee also won an award at the ETB awards in 2019 for a Green Week they held in the school. Brendan has recently joined the ETB Energy Committee and is furthering the good work on that as well.

As with every aspect of our lives COVID-19 hampered the expansion of the work of Green Schools greatly over the past two years. This year though, the Green Schools Committee in Crana College has renewed vigour in continuing the good work to date on the various themes, while also ambitiously aiming for another Green Flag for Water. The committee consists of teams of students working on different areas: 1st years are working on Litter and Waste, Transition Year students are working on Energy and the second years are working on the Water theme, all guided by myself and Brendan. We have also been assisted by Mrs Mary Harkin and Declan Doherty our caretaker over the years and this year Miss Niamh Griffin, Mrs Aisling Walls and Miss Hazel Quigley have come on board.

Recently in conjunction with World Water Day on 22 March 2022, myself and Brendan decided to hold another Green Week. Together with the students, we devised a timetable of events with a different Green theme for each day of the week.

On Tuesday (22 March), as it was World Water Day, the theme was Water. A lesson on the importance of water conservation was delivered by all form tutors in SPHE that week. The students organised a water treasure hunt for the junior classes at lunchtime, who thoroughly enjoyed finding all the water facts. There was a poster and slogan competition running throughout the week.

Wednesday the theme was Litter and Waste: the CSPE classes engaged in a school and coastal clean-up. We also rolled out our new recycle stations outside the school and in the GP areas, to encourage the students to recycle more. This, together with our new water fountains to cut down on single use plastic, is hoped to greatly reduce our waste in the school.

Thursday’s theme was Energy. We had “lights off lunchtime” and then a “no power hour” last class of the day where management, staff and students all switched off their devices and lights etc. and worked without power for the last class of the day, making a very effective statement.

On Friday our theme was Fast Fashion and a short but very powerful video was delivered on the many negative effects of this, both socially and environmentally. In tandem with this we held a collection of old clothes to recycle to raise funds for the Ukrainian Humanitarian fund.

Students and staff in various activities
Crana College Green Schools activities 2022

The TY students were an integral part of the organisation of Green Week and they developed a Google Site where all the information on Green Schools is available to both staff and students in the school utilising their IT skills. They made short videos and organised games and quizzes for the junior classes as well as a list of facts and tips on each theme for roll call. This demonstrates the importance of environmental issues to our young people and why we should encourage them to speak up and make a difference.

There have been a number of other projects carried out in the school over the course of the year. Earlier in November, as the COP conference was being held in Glasgow, Mrs Mary Harkin came up with the idea of a copper hunt to raise funds for new LED bulbs for the GP areas and corridors.  The Green Schools Committee were looking to change the old bulbs to LED bulbs as part of the strategy for Energy conservation.  This proved a very fruitful venture as the classes went in competition with each other to see which class could bring in the most coppers. The initiative raised €1,500 which went a long way to changing the bulbs which have now been replaced.

The TY students are being afforded the opportunity with Mrs Aisling Walls to take part in an Erasmus+ project called GREEN, (Getting Ready to Embrace the Environment and Nature), which is a green project carried out by students from Thessalonica in Greece, Barcelona in Spain and Lisbon in Portugal together with our students in Crana College. The students will be given the opportunity to travel to these countries over the next year and a half to discuss various green projects.

All in all, this school year has been a very positive one for our committee and hopefully there is more to come.