SIXTH class pupils from Rochestown Educate Together NS recently won the overall ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Award following their innovative project on sustainability.
All 29 sixth class students participated in the project which they called Guardians of the Garden. Their topical project dealt with the issue of sustainable food.
The annual ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Award aims to raise awareness of environmental issues and is linked to the United Nations sustainable goals.
Alan Sheehan who is the principal of Rochestown Educate Together NS said their recent success was an “amazing achievement” for the school.
“We won the overall national junior award for primary schools. It is an amazing achievement. They are great ambassadors. We only opened in 2013 so to get national recognition at this stage is unreal.
“They had an incredible project and they are so articulate. The students and teachers worked so well together. We are very proud,” he said.
Mr Sheehan said his students have a real interest in all aspects of the environment with role models like Greta Thunberg helping to raise the profile of topical issues.
“The pupils have a huge environmental interest. They are very interested in climate change, conservation, and sustainability. They can identify with people like Greta Thunberg. They are the generation who will possibly change adults’ perspectives by talking about these things. It is important to raise as much awareness of these subjects as possible.”
The school principal said their award-winning project was successful for a number of reasons.
“The project was based around sustainable food and growing your own food. The students grew their own fruit and vegetables. They are hoping to create a legacy as they prepare to leave national school so that the future sixth class students will continue to take ownership of the project and maintain the food.
“Another key aspect of their project was community development. This is linked to them giving information to their families on the importance of sustainability and leaving a legacy for future generations.
It was based on our geodome which was designed and built by the parents. It encapsulates a lot of what we are trying to do in terms of the environmental aspect of learning, students being articulate, and having a community-based involvement,” he added.
Mr Sheehan also paid tribute to the teachers who helped the sixth-class students with their award-winning project. “The sixth class teachers deserve great praise. The class teacher is Chloe Sheehan, the support teacher is Chantelle Thomas, and the SNA is Terri O’Sullivan. They were heavily involved. They really drove it on,” he said.