Cork school wins award for work on environment and sustainability

The school is seeking to embed an ethos of sustainability in all aspects of school life.
Cork school wins award for work on environment and sustainability

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Cremma Liddy, Victoria Ciolkosz, Bernie Connolly of CEF, Fergal McCarthy, Kinsale Community School principal, Sarah Deasy, Niamh Crowley, Deirdre Kelly.

THE work done by Kinsale Community School for the environment has been recognised at the Cork Environmental Forum Awards with the presentation of the annual public sector award.

The award is in recognition of work undertaken by Kinsale Community School to support the environment and sustainability and for integrating education for sustainable development into the school curriculum. A celebration of the achievement took place virtually this week and the school was presented with a sculpture by Kevin Casey.

Kinsale Community School is seeking to embed an ethos of sustainability in all aspects of school life. Students, staff, and management have taken huge steps in recent years to reduce the school’s environmental impact and its overall carbon footprint. Sustainable development themes are now part and parcel of every subject across the curriculum.

Klaus Harvey, sustainability chaplain at Kinsale Community School.
Klaus Harvey, sustainability chaplain at Kinsale Community School.

“It is a great privilege for Kinsale Community School to be in receipt of the very prestigious Cork Environmental Forum Award in recognition of our initiatives which are targeted to support our environment and to create an even greater awareness of the challenges relating to climate change, biodiversity and global citizenship,” said principal Fergal McCarthy.

“We have sought to integrate the principles of sustainability into our curriculum through the mapping of the sustainable development goals to learning outcomes, as envisioned by the reformed junior cycle. 

"Our success has been achieved through a whole-school community approach, so this award is in recognition of the contribution of every single member of our school community.”

The award is in recognition of the dedication and work at Kinsale Community School in showing care for the environment. There are numerous extra-curricular activities and projects taking place.

Green flag award 

The school received its first green flag award this year on the topic of waste, driven by the diligent Green Team; solar panels have been installed on the roof, and feed into the electricity grid; rainwater is harvested from the roof to be used in the toilets; wildflower areas are planted to attract pollinators and increase biodiversity; a newly built greenhouse will be used for growing organic food; water fountains have been installed to encourage refilling of water bottles and reduce single- use plastics; paper use was reduced by approximately 34% between 2020 and 2021; art students created a large wave made from plastic bottles with the slogan ‘wave goodbye to plastic’ to encourage students to go ‘reusable’; and a number of fifth-year students reached the grand final of the Junk Kouture competition.

Kinsale Community School also has no less than seven entries to the BT Young Scientist competition, on themes related to sustainability, from fast fashion to the environmental impact of diets.

The school has posters with messages raising awareness about sustainability issues.

In every other classroom there are groups of students working on projects exploring solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss and the staff have embraced the challenge with enthusiasm, exploring and sharing their skills, knowledge, and expertise.

To further promote sustainability, Kinsale Community School has a newly appointed ‘sustainability chaplain’ who is teaching Eco-Unesco’s Youth for Sustainable Development programme to transition-year students. 

Klaus Harvey, sustainability chaplain at the school, said: “Kinsale Community School is to be congratulated on winning Cork Environmental Forum’s annual award for the public sector and it is well deserved.

“Since I arrived here as sustainability chaplain three months ago, I have been hugely impressed and inspired by what the school has already achieved in terms of reducing its environmental impact and improving its sustainability.

“It is an absolute privilege and pleasure to be involved in contributing to this ongoing work, seeing students become empowered, active global citizens.”

Cork Environmental Forum promotes sustainable development goals and fosters and implements sustainable development in the Cork region. Its annual awards recognise the work of organisations and individuals across Cork that are showing care for the environment.

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