The Knockbeg College Green-Schools Committee was originally called the Climate Change Challenge Committee and was founded by a group of TY students on 7th December 2017 during a TY Climate Change module. Since then, we have expanded to include members from each year group and from the wider school community. We officially changed our name to the Green-Schools Committee in 2019 and started to focus on obtaining our first flag and increasing our environmental work within the wider Knockbeg College School Community. Our main goal is to mitigate against the devastating impacts of Climate Change by taking positive actions, working with the wider community and by increasing environmental awareness and education whenever possible.
We have two sister Green-Schools at present that we are liaising with. One, Fort Hill High School in Cumberland, Maryland, USA and the second, Duiske College, Graiguenamanagh, Co Kilkenny. Ms Hott visited Fort Hill in December 2019 and they agreed to work with us and to share ideas and projects we were working on. Committee members at the time began contacting each other via email but unfortunately due to school closures in March 2020 on both sides of the Atlantic, this has been postponed. We do, however, hope to pick up where we left off soon. With our second sister school, Duiske College, we are currently working on a ‘Barrow Buddies’ project involving both of our committees.
Overview of environmental achievements pre-22-23 school year.
· First Green-Schools flag for Litter and Waste 2021
· Segregated waste bins throughout school
· Compostable plates, knives, forks etc in the Ref
· Removal of most of the single use plastic in the Ref
· Addition of Eco-Ed modules and other educational topics in the curriculum
· Switched to compostable bin bags and environmental cleaning products via the cleaning company.
· Biodegradable wipes used during Covid restrictions.
· Planted a mini orchard at the side of the gym.
· Numerous environmental events including guest speakers such as Georgie Kelly (Bohemians Soccer club) for whole school talks.
· Added bee/bird/bat houses and increased biodiversity in general.
· Created a forest walk beside the touch.
2022-2023 was a hugely productive and successful year from an environmental perspective. After two years of hard work by Green-Schools committee members, Knockbeg College was awarded our second green-schools flag for WATER. Committee members represented our school at the Green Schools awards ceremony in Dublin in May and we are delighted to be able to fly this flag beside our first one. The flag acknowledges all the effort and commitment by the committee over the past two years and highlights our continued endeavours towards achieving a sustainable school.
Two of the committee members, Finn Craig and Kevin McKeon, were selected as Green Schools Water ambassadors by The Green Schools Programme. They ran a number of initiatives both inside and outside school, the highlight of which was the design and ordering of a number of personalised, reusable water bottles for our school community. We are also delighted to announce that Kevin and Finn have been selected as Runner Up Winners in The Water Ambassadors Programme and will be receiving this prestigious award next Wednesday in Dublin.
We were also honoured to have Minister Malcolm Noonan, Minister for Heritage and Electoral Reform, visit our school in February where he kindly gave a whole school talk in the gym. The Minister also spent time afterwards advising our committee and offering his support, and for this we are very grateful.
As our committee continues to grow and expand, we look forward to working with our school community again next year to achieve our sustainability goals.
Summary of main endeavours and achievements
· Education for Sustainability module for TY’s.
· BinIt workshop for first and second years
· FOG’S Campaign. Poster/online and classroom education week long campaign in school and wider community
· Water Ambassador Officers
· Water Ambassador Runner Up Award
· Reusable Water Bottle Roll Out – personalised with Knockbeg/Tir3D Logo’s
· Raised beds made from upcycled plastic bottles. TY’s worked with
Jonathan to make and plant.
· Whole school talk by Minister Malcolm Noonan
· Organisation of Carlow Secondary Schools Environmental Group
· Ongoing Litter and Waste awareness and maintenance programmes
· Participation in An Taisce, Globe Air and Water monitoring pilot programmes
· Continuous planting of trees, bulbs etc to increase Biodiversity
· NO MOW MAY participation
· Ongoing social media awareness campaign on school Twitter accounts
· Water use and monitoring with the help of Johnathon.
· Award of second Green Schools Flag for water (following on from all the requirements to achieve this over a two-year period)