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and teachers from across the district have been recognised for their
environmental work at the annual Eco-Schools Green Flag Awards. 12 local
schools received Green Flags, with others being recognised as Ambassador
Schools. The Eco Schools Green Flag Awards for 2022 have been sponsored by
educational supplies and learning resource company, Nexus.
Schools honoured at the Green Flag event included:
- Ambassador Schools: Fairview Primary School and Ballycraigy Primary School
- Eco-School of the Year for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council Belfast High School sponsored by NI4Kids.
- Biodiversity Champion Glengormley High School was recognised as ‘Biodiversity Champion’, sponsored by Radius Housing
- ‘Eco Teacher of the Year’ prize, sponsored by Twinkl was won by Deirdre Downey of St Joseph's Primary School.
Charlene McKeown who manages the international Eco-Schools programme in Northern Ireland on behalf of environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said;
“The Eco-Schools team have been really impressed by the quality of applications from schools in Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council. Schools have had a difficult time during the pandemic but teachers and eco co-ordinators at so many schools have worked very hard to build our Green Flag ‘seven steps’ approach back into the daily lives of their pupils. We’ve been providing extra support through our new network of field officers and are delighted to see that approach being wholeheartedly embraced by schools. I’d like to thank all of our sponsors for helping us to continue to grow the Eco-Schools programme and investing in the future of our children and our planet.”
Mayor for Antrim and Newtownabbey Stephen Ross who was in attendance at event said;
“Our local children have worked tremendously hard and are so passionate about the environment. It’s wonderful to see their efforts being recognised at today’s special event. Each and every school here today has something to celebrate, whether they’ve received their full green flag or are making good progress towards that goal. The way the Eco-Schools programme brings environmental issues right into the heart of the curriculum gives me great hope for the future. I’d like to congratulate the children, their teachers and their parents for being such a shining example to us all.”
Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said;
“We’re so proud of our flagship Eco-Schools programme. The opportunity to award schools with their Green Flags is a moment to reflect on how far we’ve come in terms of environmental education but also to say that we absolutely can’t rest on our laurels. The environmental emergency facing our planet is real and Eco-Schools is helping to educate and inform our young people so that they can be part of the change that is urgently needed.”
The Eco-Schools programme is run by the Foundation for Environmental Education, a non-governmental, non-profit organisation based in Denmark, and is managed in Northern Ireland by environmental charity, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful. It was developed in 1994 as a response to an identified need to involve young people in finding solutions to environmental and sustainable development challenges at local level. Eco-Schools operates in 59,000 schools across 72 countries.
Every school in Northern Ireland is registered as an Eco-School and the programme is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, local councils and a number of generous sponsors who support the programme’s selection of topics, which schools can choose to follow based on their location, interests or the wishes of their pupils.
Northern Ireland is now ranked sixth out of the 72 participating countries for the number of Green Flag status schools. NI was also the first country in the world to award a Green Flag to an Eco-School.