Featured ECO-UNESCO Clubs

29th Galway Killannin Scout Group, Co. Galway

Biodiversity and Conservation Project

Eco-Scouts carried out a ‘Biodiversity and Conservation Project’ which culminated in an ‘Action Day’ at Brigit’s Garden (an environmental charity, visitwww.brigitsgarden.ie) in Rosscahill, Co. Galway. As the group learned more about biodiversity from local experts, it soon became clear that some native animals are under threat. The Eco Scouts focused on kestrels, long eared owls and bats in the local area. The Scout section made kestrel nesting boxes, which will be installed on a suitable site nearby by a conservation officer from BirdWatch Ireland. The Cub section made bat roosting boxes and the Beaver section took part in a bird feeding workshop. All groups helped to make the display signs and wrote an article about the action day for 2 local newsletters.

The Action Day itself involved bird and bat watching activities (a bat walk at night), making an insect ‘hotel’ and the installation of bat roosting boxes and owl nesting baskets.

The project was facilitated by scout leaders and wildlife experts from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Bat Conservation Ireland and BirdWatch Ireland. The project promoted the protection and conservation of the environment by engaging young people with our native wildlife and highlighting threats to wildlife.

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Blakestown Community School, Dublin

Herb Garden Project

The school’s Home Economics Teacher identified a need to plant their own herb garden as buying herbs on a daily basis proved wasteful and uneconomical. By growing their own food they could reduce their food miles and carbon footprint. There are many courtyard areas around the school that are visible to everyone who passes. The Gardeners are a group of students who were initially involved in the Green Schools Committee and as such were responsible for many of the gardening and environmental projects in the school. Together with another teacher who is a keen gardener, The Gardeners designed and planted the present herb garden and used the activity as one of their key assignments for the Leaving Cert Applied programme. The planting ties in with school policy of growing home-grown produce as they also have a fruit garden and an orchard. It also improved the appearance of the waste ground outside the Home Economics area.

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Bridge Boys (Ossory Youth), Kilkenny

Bridge Boys Renovation Project

The Bridge Boys comprise of a group of boys from a rural area in Kilkenny. They meet in their local community weekly. The community has outdoor picnic tables and community flower pots that have been vandalised on a number of occasions. The project was to renovate the public tables. The group worked with a professional gardener and cleaned up the community gardens and planted salad and flowers. As well as renovating all picnic tables, the group also chose one old picnic table in the public park that they renovated to be a youth space. They created 2 board games (Ludo and Snakes & Ladders) on this picnic table and the games can be played by everybody. The group also designed, built and painted 3 bird box houses which they donated to the community. One bird box was donated to the primary school for their green schools award. 

Through the project the group developed a greater sense of community and they now take more ownership of public facilities. Once the project was completed the group held a BBQ for the local community. They used the salad they had grown and served it on the benches surrounded by the flowers they planted in to community gardens.

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Calasanctius College, Co. Galway

An Gairdín Beag

Calasanctius College biodiversity group work closely with Oranmore Tidy Towns, and have carried out a number of projects. All their projects aim to improve local biodiversity and raise awareness of it in the local area. The group designed and planted a small area of ground beside the local astroturf, children’s playground and local bus stop. The group's aim was to design a garden that would add colour to the area and attract insects and butterflies.

They used recycled materials where possible. Five large concrete manhole sections were received from Galway County Council. These five sections were painted white and decorated by the art class. Three were used as flower beds and 2 others were put on their sides in concrete. These two will be filled with timber logs and bamboo to become wildlife/ insect hotels. Two other flower beds were planted. To help raise awareness of the project, articles appeared in the group's school newsletter and packets of spring bulbs were given to people in various locations around Oranmore. They also purchased books on biodiversity and donated them to the local library.

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Cavan Youthreach ECO Club, Cavan

Field to Fork Horticulture Project

The group's project involved renting, cultivating and planting a 1 acre allotment to grow a variety of organic produce for consumption in their Youthreach centre. The project was part of an expansion to the existing horticulture project at Cavan Youthreach which also consists of a 30ft poly tunnel and several raised beds. 

Members of the Cavan Youthreach ECO Club were responsible for cultivating, planting and maintaining this plot of land. The group decided to grow carrots, parsnips, turnips, cabbage and potatoes using organic products which do not use any chemicals or pesticides.

This produce was then harvested and used in the Youthreach kitchen which feeds approximately 60 learners and staff on a daily basis. Although the allotment only provided a small amount of the food that was required, the knowledge and experience gained through working on the project will help to make this a sustainable endeavour into the future.

The project promoted environmental awareness by adhering to the practices of sustainable organic food production. The young people involved gained an understanding and knowledge of the negative environmental impacts associated with mass food production and the transport of non-locally sourced food through completing research during the project on the benefits of ‘growing your own’. 

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Clara Youthreach, Co. Offaly

Operation Rainwater

This group carried out an audit of their water usage. It revealed that they paid a lot of water charges for watering their seedlings, flowers and vegetables. They used a grant from ECO-UNESCO under the Clubs in Action seed grant programme to buy equipment to harvest rainwater. The group then researched rainwater harvesting systems and discovered how to use a gravity flow system to carry the water from the tank to the garden. The tank also supplied the self-watering table in their poly tunnel. There were a lot of both new and old skills required by the group in order to put the system in place. 

The new system has been very successful, the plants are much healthier and Clara Youthreach have reduced their water charges and carbon footprint. They also had a very successful exhibition in the local library and have been asked to put in a similiar system in Clara Community and Family Resource centre. The group engaged local youth by developing a worksheet as part of their awareness exhibition. They also passed out leaflets to the local community and gave a PowerPoint presentation at the awareness exhibition.

In addition to all the other activities they also created awareness of the environmental issues facing Ireland today by creating a board game which they presented to the two local primary schools. 

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Daingean Youth Club, Co. Offaly

Tidy Teens

The Tidy Teens group created an educational biodiversity garden in Daingean. The garden hosts a variety of flora and fauna which are wild and native to Ireland. In order to attract wildlife, the tidy teens built a range of habitats and eco-systems. They also planted flowers and shrubs which are known to attract birds and insects.

The aim of the project is to educate people, particularly young people, about the important role that wildlife plays in our environment. The project is also used as a means to inform people of the devastating effects of habitat destruction. Local media publicised the story of the project and helped to get the message across. 150 students from the local primary school came to visit the project, so they could learn about the garden and its habitats. 

The youth involved enjoyed the process and learned new skills around organising, planning and biodiversity. The group hope that the garden will help to conserve and protect native animals.

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ECO Central (Castleblayney Central School), Co. Monaghan

Vegetable Garden, Energy Saving and Environmental Awareness

Through the development of a school vegetable garden, this project has provided an opportunity for the pupils and the wider school community to be responsible for, and maintain a vegetable garden at the school. The School Parents Association paid for the construction of the garden and the project was subsidised by the school's Board of Management. 

Working on and maintaining the vegetable garden has raised awareness of the important issue of food miles and importance of buying local produce. Additionally the pupils have acquired many gardening skills. All produce was been divided amongst a number of local families, thereby continuing to raise awareness within the school community. This project has highlighted the communities need to buy local produce or ‘grow your own’.

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#L.F.N. ECO Club (ECO-UNESCO Peer Education Programme), Dublin

 

The youth project leaders #LFN (Love for Nature) delivered 5 peer education workshops to 6th class students in Drimnagh Castle and the Assumption Primary School, educating students on biodiversity through fun and engaging activities, including creating their own shoe garden. The groups were then invited to an environmental fun day in Walkinstown Park. The project leaders began the day by themselves carrying out a park clean up - collecting 3 trolleys of rubbish from the back ‘hang out’ area of the park. Following this, the 6th class students arrived and took part in activities set up at 5 different stations around the park. The activities included biodiversity Jenga, flower graffiti, creating recycled bird feeders, planting flowers and a 3D web of life. The project has increased respect for parks and habitats and provided skills to the participants which will help them increase biodiversity in their homes, parks and schools.

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RAWCUS ECO Club (ECO-UNESCO Peer Education Programme), Dublin

Tenacious Trees

RAWCUS ECO Club created a short animation, entitled Tenacious Trees, to raise awareness of the importance of trees worldwide and the impact of deforestation. The group planned their project over a number of months, compiling all of the information they wished to convey in their film. The group explored many film medium options before settling on stop motion animation and taking part in a one day film training course to build up their technical skills in this area. The group, with the assistance of an editor, blended photographs with their own voices and sound effects to create the final product. The animation was then launched to a group of 30 young people. The launch was a huge success with all involved being engaged in discussion on the importance of trees and what they can do in their own lives to protect this vital natural resource. You can view the animation here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PU5-8HfXVRM)

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Knockmahon NS, Co. Waterford

The Green Machine - Four Seasons In Bonmahon

The Green Machine's project consisted of a movie "Four Seasons in Bonmahon" and a mosaic map of Bowmahon made from recycled materials. Together they present an ecological view of their locality over one whole year, from the perspective of young people. The group both planned and undertook 4 field trips in spring, summer, autumn and winter. They surveyed the local habitats and ecosystems and presented their findings in the movie "Four Seasons in Bawmahon". County Waterford’s Environmental Youth Officer, Ann O’Sullivan, presented the group with a Special Achievement Award after viewing their film. The movie was distributed to local homes and has also been viewed by group members, families, and past pupils of the school.

The Green Machine also spent the year planning and working on their Recycled Art Mosaic “Map of Bowmahon”. The result is an exciting living map, depicting animal and plant sightings through the use of stickers. The map is on display at the school and additions are made as and when new sightings are recorded. The young people were encouraged both as a group and individuals to learn about the ecosystems and habitats. This helped the young people to recognise the need to protect and conserve the area.  

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Monaghan Junior Tidy Towns ECO Club, Co. Monaghan

Clean Up Monaghan

Monaghan Junior Tidy Towns (JTT) has been a success story for Monaghan Tidy Towns. Groups of local young people carried out a litter pick every week under supervision. Each group had a leader responsible for activities. Children were awarded a sticker for every litter pick / activity in which they participated. Four stickers earned a badge while eight stickers earned a Junior Tidy Towns baseball cap. Each group established their own insect hotels.

Photos and reports of many activities are available on the groups’ website: http://www.jttmonaghan.com The group promoted eco awareness through their activities. The idea was to promote their aims by getting out and cleaning up the area. The group also promoted their activities through regular press releases to local press, our website, radio and in the schools that the youth attend. 

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New Waves ECO Club (ECO-UNESCO Peer Education Programme), Dublin

Grasstonbury

ECO-UNESCO Peer Educator group the ‘New Waves’, planned and held a festival style environmental awareness day in Father Collins Park, Dublin. This is Ireland’s only wholly sustainable park. The aim was to raise awareness and engage young people on the issue of transport and energy in their own lives. The park's wind turbines powered the bands’ equipment. The bands provided entertainment for the whole day – showing that being ECO is cool! The day included a number of activities including running a home-made peddle powered smoothie bike which invited participants to make their own organic fruit smoothies! The day coincided with International Nelson Mandela Day, so the group incorporated the theme of youth “taking action and inspiring change” by creating a Nelson Mandela statue from recycled materials. The day was a great success and was attended by the South African Ambassador, his Excellency Ndou, staff from the embassy, and 140 people from all over Dublin.

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Oliver Bond House ECO Club, Dublin

Oliver Bond House Community Clean Up

Oliver Bond House is a council house complex in Dublin’s Liberties area, an area renowned for its great community spirit. Many of the children living in Oliver House are related and they enjoy playing together in the two playgrounds. The children decided that they wanted to clean-up their playground because it was vandalised and had graffiti, rubbish and weeds. The group held 3 clean-ups of the area around the playground. During the day, the local children were helped by local volunteers from St Catherine’s church, Thomas St. The main achievement has been encouraging the children to take care of their local environment. It has also built their confidence, through a feeling of achievement as they helped turned an urban space that was broken and filled with rubbish, into a beautiful, tidy and fun place. 

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Ramelton Treesome Kids, Co. Donegal

The Treesome Kids raised environmental awareness by example. The group undertook numerous projects to highlight environmental concerns in the community. The centre-piece project was the development of a youth heritage garden on wasteland in the town. This brought a wide range of people and groups together to develop a new community amenity. Treesome Kids activities have drawn a wide range of people together to cooperate on community development/environmental concerns.

The club acts as a junior branch of the Ramelton Tidy Towns Committee, and has been recognised and acknowledged as playing an important cohesion role in the town. An active communications campaign (press, Facebook, other online activities) has reinforced a continuing stream of environmental messages to Ramelton and beyond. Participants have developed personal skills, knowledge and confidence through the programme.  Participation in various public events has been a great confidence builder. Active environmental projects (e.g. clean-ups, the 'Doggy-Poo' campaign) have had an immediate impact and have influenced other people to be more environmentally aware. The Eco Unesco Clubs Programme / Young Environmentalist Awards have made a significant impact on both the members and the wider community. Ramelton now considers itself an 'ECO-UNESCO' town.

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St. Conleth's College, Dublin

Eco Geeko's project involved the sourcing, purchasing and planting of trees and shrubs in their school grounds. Although St. Conleth's is located in a leafy suburb, the grounds lack greenery. The group decided to plant shrubs and small hedges into their almost bare flower beds, in the staff car-park. They also decided to create a more welcoming feel to the school by placing a large potted shrub on each side of the main door of the school.  The group sourced the plants from a nursery in north Co. Dublin and came into school on a Saturday morning during September to dig the flower beds and plant the shrubs. Both teachers and students have commented that the schools now looks more aesthetically pleasing and also seems even more welcoming.  

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St. Felim's Ballinamore PPS ECO Club, Co. Leitrim

From Seed to Feed

Through this project Ballinamore Post Primary School Garden Club learned how to sow seeds, bulbs, fruit trees and tubers (potatoes) in containers along with how to manage them while growing. They used donated recycled pots to transplant the seedlings to the garden and poly-tunnel. The aim of the project was to show how easy it is to grow seeds and reap the rewards of having a harvest feast in September. The plants and vegetables in the school garden that reached maturity over the summer were entered in local agricultural shows and the group even won prizes. They also sold surplus plants and vegetables at local fairs and festivals. The money raised was donated to charity. The project won first prize in Co. Leitrim Floral Pride Competition in the Best School Display category. This programme has created a great team spirit in the school towards gardening. While 60 students were directly involved in the project, the whole school were aware of it through classes and information newsletters. The group promoted and raised awareness around the areas of self-sufficient growing, protection, conservation and food miles. They really enjoyed carrying out this project and felt a great sense of accomplishment.

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Youth ECO Challenge Claremorris, Co. Mayo

The group carried out eco workshops and a practical action environmental project including a peer education element for 16-18 year olds from Claremorris, Co. Mayo. Workshops included a sustainable development workshop; art workshop; media workshop; investigation of wetlands and investigation of archaeological heritage. The group discovered the biodiversity of their local wetlands at Mayfield and at a community public park at Clare Lake. They looked at plant and animal life, water sampling and identified native plant species. They learned how to do a harvest knot using rushes from the wetlands. The group completed a clean-up project at a community garden where they gave a water reservoir tank a complete make-over, painting and decorating it to make it a real focal point in the garden. 

They also recorded their experiences and interviewed local people about environmental projects at their local community radio station. The project introduced the topic of sustainability and a discussion of what it means. It was opportunity for young people to discover environmental resources in their own community and value their wetlands, lake and community garden. The young people spoke to people involved in local environmental projects such as a community garden, rainwater harvesting and food composting at a housing association for the elderly.

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Paistí Glas, Letterfrack, Co. Galway

Where We Live

The aim of this project was to engage young people in their local environment through appreciation, understanding, conservation, protection, and basic awareness-raising in the wider community. Club members examined local flora, fauna, river systems, bogland, habitats, ecology and geology.

Funding through the Clubs in Action programme allowed the group to buy outdoor clothes and tools to allow them to carry out wildlife surveys and to explore and learn about their local natural environment.

The group is now in the process of delivering an environmental awareness programme to other young people in their locality using fun activities. They will deliver this programme to students from six schools. They also hope to expand the project to all of Connemara. Paistí Glas are currently preparing a storyboard display to put on show at their local Toyota dealership. The display will showcase and share what they have learned through art and recycled materials.

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ASESP Teen Peer Group, Sherriff Street, Dublin

The ASESP Teen Peer Group held a local area clean-up focusing on the church grounds in preparation for their confirmation. They purchased a power hose and plants. They cleaned all the grounds and planted beautiful flowers. The action project promoted the personal development of the young people within the group and empowered them to think about their natural surroundings.

The group got their friends and other community members involved in the project. They wanted to encourage people to take pride and ownership in their local area. By doing this they are helping to keep their neighbourhood clean and free of litter.

The group are now going to carry out monthly clean ups of the area as they have the power hose and on-going supervision and support from ASESP and ECO-UNESCO. In the long term, the group is undertaking an ECO-UNESCO sustainability project so that all of their hard work will be continued. During this action project will be passed on and filtered down to other groups through Peer Education.

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Bowes Boys, Glasheen BNS, Scoil Mhuire Gan Small, Glasheen, Co. Cork

The Lough

The Bowes Boys were concerned about the future of ‘The Lough’, a local amenity of considerable environmental and social value. In recent years many birds died due to an outbreak of botulism. On a trip to ‘The Lough’ they also noticed that many of the signs and amenities had been damaged and covered in graffiti. They immediately began their information campaign, calling on local people to help take care of ‘The Lough’. They designed and printed an information brochure which was distributed to homes and shops. They also lobbied Cork City Council to improve facilities and signage in the area. They are continuing to work closely with Cork City Council on the project and will be helping design the new signage for ‘The Lough’.

They also carried out a Day of Action and received much support and interest from the residential and business community. The boys spoke to many people on ‘The Lough’ about what they could do to help and made people aware of the litter bins, fish net bins and dog litter bins. They spoke to people about the appropriate foods to feed the wildlife also. Since the Day of Action they have had many requests to the school for more brochures and they intend to commission another print run.

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Nutgrove & Columbanus Youth Centre, Rathfarnham, Dublin

Art through the medium of Recycling and Sustainable Living
Nutgrove Youth Centre focused on an Arts & Crafts Programme that primarily used materials recycled from people’s houses. A letter was written by the group asking locals to donate materials to the youth service. The group developed an awareness of the many and varied uses of ‘waste’ that is commonly found lying around the house and frequently thrown out as rubbish. It allowed them develop a think before you act attitude, so that products can be reused. The groups then carried out a workshop in the local Nutgrove Shopping Centre. This built their confidence as facilitators, and gave them the opportunity to show others how to reuse items commonly found in their house, instead of throwing them away.

The Columbanus Group and Nutgrove Girls Group carried out a community clean up day in their local area, and spoke to people during the activity about the importance of keeping the area clean. The Nutgrove groups also carried out a series of workshops with an Eco Gardiner, making birdfeeders using plastic bottles, composting and gaining an understanding of the circle of life and our place within it. They have also developed a community garden.

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Mission Greenpossible, St. Conleths College Sec School, Ballsbridge, Dublin

Global Warming Awareness Roadshow

Mission Greenpossible created a slideshow to show the causes, effects and ways to combat global warming. The slideshow included interactive games and a short video. The presentation included a section on reducing carbon emissions in which they spoke about how using various types of transport can add to or reduce individual carbon emissions. The group travelled to various primary schools in the area and gave the presentation to a number of classes in each school. They made the presentation in seven different schools including their own. They made a total of twenty two presentations to classes averaging from twenty to thirty students.

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The Green Team, Blakestown Community School, Blanchardstown, Dublin

ECO-Club Moves Outdoors

The Green Team decided to plant trees on the grounds of their school to improve the air quality and to improve the aesthetics of the school grounds. The group chose a variety of apple trees so that the fruit produced could be used in Home Economics. One of the school’s courtyards was overgrown and the group converted this area into a garden of remembrance.

The garden has increased awareness of biodiversity and the natural environment in the school and local community. The group members gained new knowledge in the importance of biodiversity and learned new landscaping and gardening skills. The project will endure into the future as countless generations of students will be able to enjoy the benefits of this outdoor space.

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Green Fingers Gang, Presentation Secondary School, Limerick

Green Fingers
The Green Fingers Gang decided to clean up their local CIE Club, a building used by members of the local community. They cleaned the front wall of graffiti and moss and painted it. This wall was a real eye sore before and the girls worked very hard in painting this wall a number of times in one day. The front pathway and the tarmac courtyard to the centre were cleared. Due to the large number of weeds, fallen leaves and litter, it took the entire day to sweep the yard. The girls found it tough going but they did a great job in cleaning the area. Two students planted 4 large tubs for around the front of the building making the area look more attractive. They planted ferns and a nice red berry bush. They washed the front doors and windows. A bedding area was also very overgrown. Three girls worked for the day in digging up the weeds and they put down new topsoil. Along the wall area, the group planted 40 daffodil bulbs and picked up large amounts of rubbish. Jake Daly, a local tree surgeon, cut back over grown trees and generally tided up the area. At the end of the day, they held a celebration event to celebrate the students’ achievements with the local residents. The locals who attended were delighted with the students work and thought the place looked fabulous. Residents commented that due to the daunting task the clean-up had not been attempted by a local group before but now they would take an active role in maintaining the grounds.

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Abbey Vocational Cycling Club, Donegal

Cycle to School Day
The Abbey Vocational Cycling Club decided to increase the numbers of students cycling to school. The group surveyed 782 students on their transport habits and they found that 64% of the students reside within a 5 miles radius of the school. The staff population is 50 in total of which 50% reside within a 6 miles radius of the school. When the club surveyed the students their primary reason for not cycling to school was a basic lack of an appropriate safe area to secure the bike while on the school grounds. Many of the staff had similar concerns. The original idea of establishing the club was to fundraise to provide a bike shelter to accommodate the estimated bike usage.

The club members ran a cycle to school event which will have a positive effect on the local community, students and the staff. The club ran their own fundraising on the event day in tandem with the “cycle to school” day to raise funds for a bike shelter.

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Cavan Youthreach, Co. Cavan

Tree Planting Project

Members of Cavan Youthreach Eco-Club were involved in the plating of native Irish species of trees on a previously unused and exposed area of waste ground adjacent to our centre and the main road. We focused on planting as many trees as we could with the money allotted. Many native Irish species were selected such as oak, horse chestnut, hornbeam, dogwood, holly together with a number of native fruit trees such as apple and blackcurrant. In total 85 trees were planted of various species and maturity.

The young people increased their understanding of native Irish species and realised the importance of these species to the environment. The planting of trees on an area currently seen as waste ground challenged the way they thought about land. The project helped to enhance personal development of the young people involved by helping to foster a sense of responsibility, pride and achievement. The project encouraged team-work and helped to develop the way the young people interact with each other and the environment. Skills and knowledge obtained by the young people will filter into the wider community. Future learners attending the centre will also be able to learn from, enjoy and continue the project.

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East Cork/Youghal Youthreach, Co. Cork

The group from East Cork/Youghal Youthreach have set up a programme where they collect seaweed that has washed up on the nearby beach and process it into organic fertiliser for community gardens in the area. The group have teamed up with a group from St. Raphael’s Centre for the intellectually disabled in Youghal to carry out the project together.

The groups met in the Youthreach centre and watched some instructional videos on how to make seaweed into fertiliser and videos about a number of companies and individuals that have used seaweed as a basis for businesses and horticultural initiatives. They then went on a fact-finding trip to the beach to look at the different types of seaweed available, to learn about them, and to collect some samples. Afterwards the two groups went for lunch together. One of the primary purposes of this day was to introduce the 2 groups and begin the process of familiarisation with a view to facilitating teamwork and integration. The seaweed collected on the day was used on the Links Garden in St. Raphael’s Centre.

The group has a schedule of beach visits to harvest the seaweed. Storage and drying options have been explored. The groups go to the beach every fortnight to collect seaweed, which is then brought to the Youthreach Centre to be processed and dried out. The group is making links with UCC in the hope that relevant research has been carried out on seaweed. If so, the group plans to make a study visit to the university.

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Team Plunkett, Plunkett College, Whitehall, Dublin

Team Plunkett set up a waste management plan in their school with the objective of drastically reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill. They began with a clean-up of their school grounds. Others from the area gave a helping hand. They then held a class on waste education to create awareness among students in the school on recycling and waste issues, such as the length of time it takes landfill waste to break down and the damage that it can cause to the environment.

The group bought recycling bins and placed them in all rooms in the school, including a mobile phone recycling point in the library. To spread further awareness of waste issues and to let people know about the new recycling facilities the group drafted a leaflet and distributed it to all families in the area. As a result of the hard work by the members of Team Plunkett, the school now has adopted a new waste management system. The group has reduced the amount of waste produced by the school going to landfill and has increased recycling. This initiative will continue to benefit the environment and the school for years to come.

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St. Mary's Academy CBS, Carlow

Moodlers making TY paperless

St. Mary’s Academy’s project aimed to reduced paper in the school by using a virtual learning environment (VLE) called ‘Moodle’. This allowed students to conduct learning in a virtual environment and upload tasks/projects to their teachers without the use of paper. They have extended the use of Moodle and all teachers have been up-skilled to use VLE’s in their teaching and assessment. This project has made a dramatic impact on the reduction of paper use in the school environment as well as improving teaching and learning. By making the teachers aware of the issues and up-skilling them in VLE, the group hopes that the reduction of paper usage in the school will be sustained in the future.

They organised a biodiversity awareness day and visited all the junior cycle classes informing students about their project and highlighted the importance of conserving biodiversity. They also provided students with information about biodiversity and ran a competition to engage more of the student body. They added information about biodiversity to the school website and on Moodle to bring awareness to a wider audience.

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Green Dudes, St. Conaire's N.S., Shannon, Co. Clare

School Park Project

The Green Dudes decided to create a green area which will mature over the next five years. Different class groups were involved in the design of the school garden area. They drew their plans up over the summer and prepared the land for the planting project. The area that they worked on was overgrown with weeds.

During Easter the group, with the help of parents, built their garden which consists of 20 raised beds, one for each class in the school. They planted shrubs and trees before winter time and lay paving slabs for a pathway and reading area. A range of different plants and trees were chosen to encourage biodiversity. The garden is intended as a long-term project for the school. The garden the current students have designed and planted will be changed and maintained by future generations of students. The group planted vegetables and fruit trees and they hope that this will encourage others to take an interest in gardening and food production at home. This will encourage organic food production and cut down on pollution caused by the transportation of food.

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Stoneybatter Youth Service, Dublin

Happy Garden Project!
Stoneybatter Youth Service group set up a community garden in O’Devaney Gardens. They cleared a bed on the grounds overlooked by the flats and dug it up. Some volunteers pitched in to help. They ordered three tonnes of fresh topsoil and replenished the area to be ready for planting. They then visited Jackie who works in the Phoenix Park garden who showed them around and gave them advise and ideas on starting their own. The young people took the opportunity to ask lots of questions and expand their knowledge.

The group then made a list of herbs, small trees, vegetables, and other plants that they wanted in the garden and bought them. They planned out the garden and decided where things should be planted. At the garden centre they learned about perennial and annual plants. The group and volunteers planted various beds according to the type of plant. More young people from the area got involved and some parents helped with the watering on the warm summer days. The group also laid a wooden path through the garden to add a finishing touch.

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Treebees, Clara Youthreach, Co. Offaly

Community Tree
The Treebees invited representatives of groups in their community, such as Train Station, Tidy Towns, Tullamore Show, Library, and Family Resource Centre, to discuss a plan to brighten up the local environment. They germinated seeds in the glasshouse and then put them in planters around the town and maintained them over the year. They put flower barrels and hanging baskets at the train station and created a mosaic as part of the ‘One book One Clara project’. They created an animation piece and a board game to create awareness among primary school children of environmental issues and what actions help or hinder a sustainable environment. The group also planted their own vegetable garden which they use as a food source for catering in the centre. They also drew up plans for a rainwater harvesting system.

They then made a documentary about our project and held a week long exhibition of their work in the local library to raise awareness among people young and old about the environment and how we can all help locally and make a difference globally. The local groups recognised the importance of the project.

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Green Up and Clean Up Club, Ennistymon Vocational School, Co. Clare

Garden Showcase

The Green Up and Clean Up Club held a one day garden showcase event. Club members gave workshops and did demonstrations in the garden on the following: making a pond, making and planting raised beds, making and planting window boxes, willow sculpting, composting, planting herbs, and making garden furniture. Students from the school and invited guests visited the garden and learned new skills in a fun environment. The group served refreshments on the day, including homemade vegetable soup made from vegetables grown in the garden. The group also printed leaflets with information for guests to take home with them and gave the guests gifts of seeds for planting at home.

In the garden the group used recycled materials to make window boxes (old pallets), and garden seating (discarded wood from building sites). They also created a pond, which is improving biodiversity. The project reached 80 students from the school and 29 invited guests. An article of the event in the November edition of the local newspaper will raise the profile of the group and raise awareness in the wider community. It is hoped that the garden showcase will encourage even more interest in the on-going community garden and sustain it for years to come.

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Youthreach Letterfrack, Co. Galway

Community Garden

The Youthreach Letterfrack group decided to design and develop a community garden. They wanted to include members from the entire community, particularly older members who possess valuable skills, experience, and wisdom. The group felt that vegetable growing is an essential part of efforts to achieve sustainability. The project has been extremely successful. The garden has been set up and the process has developed greater integration and respect between the different age groups in the community. The produce from the garden is shared out within the community as it becomes available and there is greater interaction within the community as a result.

There has been a renewed sense of pride, ownership, and leadership among the students who feel a new sense of value and worth within their community. The project started with ten students but has spread and now involves many more people of all ages. The garden is on-going and those involved are busy learning about what they should do in the winter months to keep their garden growing.

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