The Success of Clubs in Action 2011 
In 2011 ECO-UNESCO, in partnership with Toyota Ireland, offered seed grants to ECO-UNESCO Clubs across Ireland as part of the Clubs in Action Programme. 18 ECO-UNESCO Clubs from 9 different counties received the grants to carry out local environmental action projects. The 18 Clubs are made up of young people aged between 10 and 18. A total of 254 young people directly participated in the programme.
The projects carried out by the young people had both direct and indirect impacts. Direct impacts were made on the young people and immediate area where they carried out their projects. Indirectly, the projects had an impact through wider community involvement at different stages and through awareness-raising activities.
Congratulations to all of the leaders and young people who participated in ECO-UNESCO’s Clubs in Action programme supported by Toyota. This year turned out to be a huge success, and here at ECO-UNESCO we are delighted to see so many young people coming together and taking action within their local community.

Summary of Clubs in Action Projects

Click on the ECO-UNESCO Clubs in Action below to see what they achieved in 2011

  1. Paistí Glas, Letterfrack, Co. Galway
  2. ASESP Teen Peer Group, Sherriff Street, Dublin
  3. Bowes Boys, Glasheen BNS, Scoil Mhuire Gan Small, Glasheen, Co. Cork
  4. Nutgrove & Columbanus Youth Centre, Rathfarnham, Dublin
  5. Mission Greenpossible, St. Conleths College Sec School, Ballsbridge, Dublin
  6. The Green Team Blakestown Community School, Blanchardstown, Dublin
  7. Green Fingers Gang, Presentation Secondary School, Limerick
  8. Abbey Vocational Cycling Club, Donegal
  9. Cavan Youthreach, Co. Cavan
  10. East Cork/Youghal Youthreach, Co. Cork
  11. ECO-UNESCO Peer Educators (PEPs), Dublin
  12. Team Plunkett, Plunkett College, Whitehall, Dublin
  13. St. Mary’s Academy CBS, Carlow
  14. Green Dudes, St. Conaire’s N.S., Shannon, Co. Clare
  15. Stoneybatter Youth Service, Dublin
  16. Treebees, Clara Youthreach, Co. Offaly
  17. Green Up and Clean Up Club, Ennistymon Vocational School, Co. Clare
  18. Youthreach Letterfrack, Co. Galway

Click here to see the Clubs in Action Showcase 2011 online


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1. ECO-UNESCO Club: Paistí Glas, Letterfrack, Co. Galway

Project Title: Where We Live
Category: Other Environmental Awareness Raising Activities

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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2. ECO-UNESCO Club: ASESP Teen Peer Group, Sherriff Street, Dublin

Project Title: Where We Live
Category: Local Clean-Up

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. They hope that the sustainability project will keep going and that the awareness and knowledge that the group acquired during this action project will be passed on and filtered down to other groups through Peer Education.

The group will put a poster on display in their local dealership, Cranley Cars in Clondalkin, to make the wider community aware of their project.

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3. ECO-UNESCO Club: Bowes Boys, Glasheen BNS, Scoil Mhuire Gan Small, Glasheen, Co. Cork

Project Title: The Lough
Category: Local Clean-Up

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.

On the Day of Action at ‘The Lough’ Keary’s Toyota representatives came down to support us and they were presented with the brochure. They will carry the brochure and the Bowes Boys are currently linking their website to the dealership’s website.

Funding from the Clubs in Action programme allowed the Bowes Boys to print their information leaflet and to buy hi-visibility jackets to wear when out raising awareness about ‘The Lough’.

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4. ECO-UNESCO Club: Nutgrove & Columbanus Youth Centre, Rathfarnham, Dublin

Project Title: Art through the medium of Recycling and Sustainable Living
Category: Recycling

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.

Ruth Hughes and Loughlin Murphy from Churchtown Toyota came to the group’s workshop and are displaying posters of the group’s activities in their showroom.

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5. ECO-UNESCO Club: Mission Greenpossible, St. Conleths College Sec School, Ballsbridge, Dublin

Project Title: Global Warming Awareness Roadshow
Category: Other Environmental Awareness Raising Activities

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. They spoke about how Toyota is leading the way in the development of cars that emit low carbon emissions to include the Toyota Prius.

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.

Mission Greenpossible hopes that young people will grow up with a better idea of what faces us in the future and will take the initiative to do something about it as a result of their project. Over the long term it is hoped that the awareness-raising presentation will help young people to educate and encourage those in their households and their communities to be more environmentally aware.

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6. ECO-UNESCO Club: The Green Team Blakestown Community School, Blanchardstown, Dublin

Project Title: ECO-Club Moves Outdoors
Category: Tree Planting

The Green Team decided to plant trees on the grounds of their schools 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.

The group visited their local Toyota dealer, Tadhg Riordan Motors in Ashbourne. They carried out a waste and energy audit on the premises and gave the dealership tips on how to improve their energy and waste footprint.

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7. ECO-UNESCO Club: Green Fingers Gang, Presentation Secondary School, Limerick

Project Title: Green Fingers
Category: Local Clean-Up

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, we planted 40 daffodil bulbs and picked up large amounts of rubbish. Jake Daly, who is a tree surgeon, cut back over grown trees and generally tided up the area.

They presented the gardening club in Careys Road with additional plants and they were delighted to receive them. At the end of the day, we 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.

The group will showcase their work in O’Mara Motors, their local Toyota dealership.

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8. ECO-UNESCO Club: Abbey Vocational Cycling Club, Donegal

Project Title: Cycle to School Day
Category: ECO-Transport

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.

With the clubs in action initiative it is hoped that the club members can run a cycle to school event which will have a positive effect on the local community, students and the staff. It is planned that the club will run their own fundraising on the event day in tandem with the “cycle to school” day to raise funds for the bike shelter.

There are groups of students from different townlands around the school it was agreed that the local Toyota Dealership and our Eco-leaders would provide an escort for particular groups or areas on the morning and evening of the event. This would also attract national media attention given the scale of the cycle. The event would be used to demonstrate the potential savings on CO2 emissions that can be achieved in a local secondary school, the obvious health benefits to the students and staff, how easily it can be achieved and the eco credentials of Toyota Ireland in developing a range of vehicles that are eco friendly, efficient and reduce CO2 emissions. Long term it is envisaged that this will be an annual event and will help promote eco-transport as a viable option for the student body and the staff of the school.

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9. ECO-UNESCO Club: Cavan Youthreach, Co. Cavan

Project Title: Cavan Youthreach Tree Planting Project
Category: Tree-Planting

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.

The local Toyota dealership, Erne Motor Works, was very helpful during the project. They arranged transport in the form of a jeep and large cattle trailer to transport the trees from the garden centre located three miles from the Youthreach centre.

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10. ECO-UNESCO Club: East Cork/Youghal Youthreach, Co. Cork

Project Title: Collection and process of seaweed for use as compost in community gardens
Category: Other Environmental Awareness Raising Activities

The group from East Cork/Youghal Youthreach have set up a programme where they will 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. The local Toyota dealership, Keary’s of Midleton, provided a car to transport the students to and from the beach. 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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11. ECO-UNESCO Club: ECO-UNESCO Peer Educators (PEPs), Dublin

Project Title: Grasstonbury!
Category: Other Environmental Awareness Raising Activities

ECO-UNESCO Peer Educator group the ‘New Waves’, planned and held a festival style environmental awareness day inviting young people from all over Dublin to participate. The groups aim was to raise awareness of environmental issues and show links between local and global issues. The event was held in Father Collins Park, Ireland’s only sustainable park. Wind-power turbines powered the PA equipment that 13 bands played through, providing entertainment for the day.

There were four interactive activity stands each focusing on a different environmental issue: Energy, Water, Recycling and Climate Change. There was a smoothie-bike for participants to make their own drinks using pedal power. 120 people enjoyed the day which was a great success. It is hoped that the sustainability park will be frequented more often and that young people will think about environmental issues particularly their use of water and energy and will change their behaviour/actions accordingly.

The group plan to hold an event in their local Toyota dealership, Carroll & Kinsella in Walkinstown, to showcase their activities.

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12. ECO-UNESCO Club: Team Plunkett, Plunkett College, Whitehall, Dublin

Project Title: Recycling Programme in the School
Category: Recycling

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.

Team Plunkett will display items that they made from recycled materials in their local Toyota dealership, Denis O’Mahony Motors. They will also have their leaflet here to inform and inspire customers.

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13: ECO-UNESCO Club: St. Mary’s Academy CBS, Carlow

Project Title: Moodlers making TY paperless
Category: Other Environmental Awareness Raising Activities

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.

The group invited a representative from the local Toyota dealership (Fitzpatricks, Carlow) to the school and showed him all the work that they did to make T.Y. paperless and to spread awareness of the waste management and biodiversity.

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14. ECO-UNESCO Club: Green Dudes, St. Conaire’s N.S., Shannon, Co. Clare

Project Title: School Park Project
Category: Tree Planting

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. A representative from their local Toyota dealership, Cummin’s in Ennis, helped with the planting.

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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15: ECO-UNESCO Club: Stoneybatter Youth Service, Dublin

Project title: Happy Garden Project!
Category: Other Environmental Awareness Raising Activities

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.

Eddy Coughlan of Linders Toyota, Chapelizod was continually kept up to date on the progress of the project.

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16: ECO-UNESCO Club: Treebees, Clara Youthreach, Co. Offaly

Project Title: Community Tree
Category: Other Environmental Awareness Raising Activities

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.

They made contact with Toyota Dealership in Tullamore. The manager, Seamus Malone, will visit the centre to see the project.

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17: ECO-UNESCO Club: Green Up and Clean Up Club, Ennistymon Vocational School, Co. Clare

Project Title: Garden Showcase
Category: Other Environmental Awareness Raising Activities

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.

The local Toyota dealership, Cummins Car Centre, provided the Green Up and Clean Up with hats and a banner.

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18: ECO-UNESCO Club: Youthreach Letterfrack, Co. Galway

Project Title: Community Garden
Category: Other Environmental Awareness Raising Activities

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.

Art work representing the project is going to be put on display at the local Toyota dealership to further promote the positive effects of the community garden project.

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