green schools

New Green Flag

The green schools committee were delighted to show the rest of the school our new green flag! Well done to the committee, Ms Heaphy and all the children for their continued commitment to biodiversity in our school.

Green School Award Ceremony

On Wednesday 22nd May, 3 representatives from the Green School Committee travelled to the Helix in DCU for the Green School Award Ceremony. There were over 60 schools represented with a total of 81 flags presented this year for different Green School categories.

Nun’s Cross were working towards the biodiversity flag, the fifth in the Green School series.

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It was an engaging and inspiring day with speakers from Irish Water and Climate Change ambassadors who spoke of their desire to encourage and inspire each person to make a change no matter how small. This was a powerful message reiterated many times throughout the ceremony – one person really can make a difference and through communication we can make these impacts even bigger by working together.

It was interesting to see what other schools have achieved for their flags and it has given us some ideas as we begin working towards the Global Citizenship flag.

International Bee Day

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International Bee Day took place this week and 5th and 6th class discovered just how important bees are to us. We worked together to make a collaborative bee display and designed some important notices to help people learn why bees are important to us and to help people learn how to save bees.

Nun’s Cross are going plastic free

Exciting news – Nun’s Cross is going plastic free and to tell you more we have Elsa and Noah from our Green Schools Committee:

Nun’s Cross has decided to become a plastic free school because it is better for the environment. 5th and 6th class went on beach clean recently and we collected a disgusting amount of plastic. We were horrified at the large amount of waste on our local beach and thought if the school went plastic free it would help our environment.

To become a plastic free school, we have 3 asks:

  1. We ask that all children have reusable water bottles/drink bottles. 60 million plastic drink bottles end up in landfill everyday around the world. Using reusable bottles will dramatically improve this.

  2. No plastic in lunch boxes. Don’t add plastic such as cling film to items in lunch boxes, you could use bees wax paper instead!

  3. Don’t use plastic straws! If you really have to have a straw use paper or bamboo ones instead!

We hope that by following these 3 asks, the school will have a huge reduction in plastic waste which will help the environment for all of us

Beach Clean Up!

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A few weeks ago Nun’s Cross signed up with The National Spring Clean and we received some bin bags, gloves and hi-vis vests. Today 5th and 6th class, along with some of their teachers, took part in a beach clean up along a 5km stretch from Killoughter to Wicklow Town. Our aim was to help improve our environment and protect the wildlife in the area from being harmed by litter making its way into their habitats.

Our access to the beach ended up being off road so we warmed our legs up with a nice long walk before beginning our task.

We set ourselves up into groups and we set off along the beach equipped with litter pickers, bin bags and tally charts to catalogue all the litter we collected.

We worked hard and unfortunately we found lots of things to be collected – mainly plastics, which are not biodegradable and can have devastating effects on sea life! We collected as much as we could, although some of our bags got full and others gave way to the heavy load!

We left a huge pile of rubbish for the County Council to collect, but this is all rubbish that will not end up in the sea or in the mouths of wildlife!

The owners at The Brass Fox very kindly allowed us to use their toilets and wash our hands before we had a picnic lunch on the green outside their premises. And they went one step further and treated all the children to hot chocolate to reward them for their efforts. We all agreed that is was the nicest hot chocolate we have ever had! Huge thanks to the Brass Fox for ending our day on such a positive note, a whole community working together to make our planet cleaner for all!

After our litter pick, and using our tally sheets, we categorised everything we collected into a variety of material types and then analysed our results.

Our most common material, by far, was plastic. We found some odd materials too like spray paint cans, barbecue grills and a large door hinge. We found that all of our waste was collected on the Killoughter end of the beach, with very little waste being found towards the Murrough end of the stretch. We concluded that this is likely to be because, even though the Wicklow end of the beach has much heavier people traffic, it also has more people looking after it through the likes of The Tidy Towns Committee and kind hearted local residents and has bins for people to dispose of their rubbish. We also spoke about how litter can travel down the length of the beach and would have much less of a chance of being collected and disposed of correctly due to the lack of people that far down the beach and lack of bins for litter to be disposed of correctly.

We are delighted to see all that we collected and think about how we have helped to prevent it ending up in the oceans and harming wildlife

Biodiversity talk by Tom Gallagher

The children in Nun’s Cross had a real treat this week with a visit from Tom Gallagher who is an expert in all things biodiversity, with a special interest in birds and plants. He told us lots of interesting facts about the plants and animals living in our school garden and in our local area and we picked up loads of tips on how we can help support biodiversity in school and at home.

Did you know:

  1. The sound of the Hummingbird Moth can only be heard by women!

  2. The swift bird fly’s non-stop for three whole years, never landing once. It eats, sleeps and drinks while flying!

  3. In one fistful of soil, there is up to 10,000,000,000,000 micro creatures which are responsible for all things that grow!

  4. A dragon fly has 1,500 lenses in each eye. It can see 360 degrees, can fly forwards and backwards and hover!

  5. Woodpeckers have not lived in Ireland for many years but have recently returned and are now living in Wicklow!

A huge thanks to Tom for coming in and sharing some of his knowledge with us!

Biodiversity Action Day in Nun’s Cross

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The weather looked a bit shaky but that didn’t  dampen the children’s enthusiasm for our day of work in the school garden.

Following on from our fund raising cake sale, each class was given a job or task in the garden. All the jobs had the same end result, improving our schools biodiversity which is our aim for our new Green Schools Flag.

We all worked in various areas. We under took the mammoth task of refreshing all the wood work in our school garden in order to help brighten up the environment. The children did a great job and worked really hard.

Junior and Senior Infants planted wildflowers and bulbs in a new flower bed at the edge of the school ‘forest’. The topsoil was kindly donated by a parent.  We also undertook some planting in order to create a wild flower area to help protect bees and other insects which love all the colourful flowers which will grow here over the spring and summer seasons.

And not forgetting out flying friends! We have been so delighted with the amazing contribution from parents and local community organisations such at Ashford Tidy Towns who have donated over 20 bird and bat boxes of all kinds. The children added some colour to them and we are very grateful to a parent volunteer for offering his time to put them all into the tress around our school. We cant wait to spot some birds making them their home! 1st and 2nd class were in charge of painting these.

Another area were jobs to help look after the insects in our garden. The bug hotel got a make over and I am sure all our little critters will be much more comfortable in their refurbished home! We also added an additional bug hotel, we are sure they will love the colours! The children in 3rd and 4th class each brought in something for the existing bug hotel and repainted it also.

5th and 6th class made sure that the pond was sufficiently clear of weeds for the frogspawn to continue their cycle as well as painting the fences, flower pots, PE shed and buddy bench that are in the school garden.

Another area were jobs to help look after the insects in our garden. The bug hotel got a make over and I am sure all our little critters will be much more comfortable in their refurbished home! We also added an additional bug hotel, we are sure they will love the colours!

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has made this day possible, in any way. And all of the work wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of all the children. We are sure you will all agree that they have done a 5 star job!

Trees in Ireland (2nd class)

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We had had great fun today in second class learning about trees in Ireland. Afterwards, we went outside to investigate how many different types of native trees we had in the on our school grounds.

!!! Important Green Schools Announcement !!!

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Today we received a letter in the post telling us that we have been successful in getting our Green Schools Biodiversity flag.  This is the 5th Green flag and only a small handful of schools are committed enough to achieve such a feat.  This is very exciting news and I would like to say a huge well done and congratulations to Ms Heaphy and the Green Schools Committee who have been working tirelessly to achieve this status for the school.  Also, we would like to say a huge thank you to the whole school community who help us to carry out our action plan and keep our school become greener each year.  Without the efforts of all students and their parents this huge achievement would not be possible.

With this, a representative group of 4 will travel to the Helix, DCU campus, Dublin 9 to be presented with this flag from An Taisce on behalf of the school.  This will take place on the 22nd of May.