CHILDREN and teachers from across the area were hosted by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council in recognition of their environmental work at the annual Eco-Schools Green Flag Awards. Sixteen 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: Green Flag Award: Dromore Primary School, Enniskillen Model Primary School, Irvinestown Primary School, Kesh Primary School, Killyhommon Primary School, Maguiresbridge Primary School, Moat Primary School, Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School, Roscavey Primary School, Sacred Heart Primary School, St Davog's Primary School, St Martin's Primary School, St Mary's Primary School [Killyclogher], St Mary's Primary School [Killesher], St Paul's Primary School, Willowbridge School.
Ambassador Schools: Dromore Primary School, Jones Memorial School and McClintock Primary School.
Biodiversity Champion for Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (sponsored by Radius Housing): Omagh Integrated Primary School.
Eco-Teacher of the Year for Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (sponsored by Twinkl): Carrie Norris, Roscavey Primary School.
Eco-School of the Year for Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (sponsored by NI4Kids): Willowbridge School.
Speaking about the Eco-Schools programme and the celebration event, the chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Barry McElduff, said: “The passion and commitment of our local school children towards the environment is truly inspiring. It was brilliant to have had the opportunity to hear of their work at first hand and to recognise the efforts of our young people. Each and every school at the event had something to celebrate, whether they have received their full green flag or are making good progress towards that goal.
"The council is a partner in the Fermanagh and Omagh Community Plan 2030. One of the outcomes is to ensure that our outstanding and culturally rich environment is cherished and sustainably managed. The Eco-Schools programme and the actions the schools are taking are key to ensuring that we can achieve this.
"The Eco-Schools programme brings environmental issues right into the heart of the curriculum which gives me great hope for the future. I want to thank those principals, teachers and other school staff who have embraced the environment, biodiversity and other related issues in what can be a crowded curriculum.
"I would also like to congratulate the children and their parents, of course, for their creativity and for being such a shining example to us all.”
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 has been really impressed by the quality of applications from schools in the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area. 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.”
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.”