Monaghan school gets top marks for valuing water in Green-Schools awards

Green-Schools & Irish Water celebrate achievements in annual awards ceremony

Drumgossatt N.S

Ireland’s Water Schools of the Year have been honoured for their efforts in highlighting the value of water in all our lives at the annual Green-Schools Awards.

Hosted by An Taisce’s Green-Schools and Irish Water, this year’s virtual awards celebrated schools all over Ireland who have participated in the Green-Schools Water theme. Last year, over 125,000 students in 480 schools all over Ireland participated in the programme.

In Monaghan, students at Drumgossatt National School were lauded for their efforts in promoting the value of water and took the title of School of the Year in their region. As part of their essential water actions, students undertook a daily litter inspection to prevent litter from getting into nearby waterways. Not only did they create water saving posters, they also held a Mini Walk for Water around their school grounds to empathise with people all over the world who carry water six kilometres and more each day. As a result of the students’ hard work, water consumption was reduced by 21% over a 12 month period.

They were among eight regional winners, who were awarded for their water conservation measures as part of their participation in the Green-Schools Water theme. The Green-Schools Water theme is supported by Irish Water.

Ardgillan College in Fingal was named the overall Secondary Water School of the Year, while Scoil Treasa Naofa in Dublin 8 were the winners in the Primary category.

The Green-Schools programme has moved much of its interaction online for the past two school years, having developed a suite of Green-Schools Stay Home resources, including 13 weeks of activities related to the Water theme. This is the eighth year of the awards and partnership with Irish Water, which has seen over 1,600 schools attend interactive Water Workshops or Walk for Water Events since 2013. During this time, hundreds of pupils have visited their local water and wastewater treatment plants where they learned about the complex processes involved in safeguarding water supplies and protecting the environment. While COVID restrictions prevented such visits over the past 18 months, many opted to view the Irish Water documentary, The Story of Water, to learn more about our precious water resources.

Speaking at the awards, Geoffrey Bourke of Irish Water, said: “A key part of Irish Water’s role in safeguarding Ireland’s water supplies is helping the next generation understand the importance of conserving water. It is truly inspiring to see how the schools taking part in the Green-Schools water theme have taken this to heart and are setting an example for how we can all value our precious water resources.

“The success of the participating schools in reducing water usage and raising awareness about water issues really highlights how important it is to learn about the value of water and water conservation from a young age. That’s why this is such an important programme and one that Irish Water is proud to sponsor.”

Green-Schools Manager Cathy Baxter said: “Despite the COVID restrictions presenting challenges in how we engage with our participating schools, we have used a variety of techniques and technologies to continue to support our schools and encourage them to carry out as much Green-Schools work as possible throughout the past year. It is also wonderful to see how the students have developed innovative new ways of engaging with their fellow students and wider community to help spread the work about the value of water.

“This was the second year hosting the awards ceremony virtually and it was great to see schools from all over the country joining in the ceremony through a live link.”