ST ANTHONY’S Boys National School recently held a very successful Climate Action Day which involved numerous initiatives in the Ballinlough school.
Events on the day included detailed talks from guest speakers, seed planting, garden tours, plant food tasting, the planting of an ash tree and the burying of a time capsule which will be opened in 2040 to mark the 75th anniversary of the Cork city primary school.
School principal Seán Lyons said the day was initiated by the whole school community. “It was a very successful day. It was led by the Green Schools Committee, which is made up of boys from fourth, fifth and sixth class. This committee was started by one of our former teachers Ursula Higgins who had a huge passion for the environment.
"Several staff members along with this committee came together. The whole idea was to have a whole school community initiative, where small and sustainable changes would be made. We want to start small and make meaningful changes,” he said.
Mr Lyons said the school was a ‘hive’ of activity for the climate action day. “We had several different events going on. The school was a hive of activity. We had poster competitions, slogan competitions. We built bird houses and bird feeders which were created by recyclable and reusable materials. We had a poetry competition. Projects were displayed in the gym. Our elder students read nature books for the younger students. We had biodiversity walks and fourth-class students gave climate presentations.
“We started the day off with a walk to school from Ballinlough Park,” said the school principal. “The morning commenced with a visit from the INTO President John Driscoll who is himself a past pupil. He was greeted by the fifth-class boys who sang the school anthem. Our junior infants class also sang for him. John spoke to the boys about the school and climate awareness.
“We also welcomed back other past pupils such as Cork senior footballers Micheál Aodh Martin, Kevin O’Donovan and Mark Cronin and Cork senior hurlers Shane Kingston, Cathal Cormack and Alan Cadogan. Another past pupil JP Quinn who is the author of a children’s book also spoke to the students. The Parents Association came and made granola bars with the students. Sandra Stewart from UCC talked about recycling, and Catriona from Cork Nature Network spoke about their role. The students were also shown how to care for their bikes in terms of fixing brake pads and punctures,” he added.
Mr Lyons said the creation of their school garden in 2020 has proved a huge success with the students. “We have our own school garden down by the Gus Healy Pool. It is used a lot by the students and by the two ASD special classes. They love engaging in the garden, growing flowers and planting. We also have an allotment along with other local schools in Ballinlough Park. The school has a strong sporting tradition.
"We planted an ash tree in the school garden because of its association with hurling and football.”
The primary school principal said the school is focused on making changes daily.
“We are constantly checking our energy usage, making sure our lights are turned off and that we have the correct recycling in the bins. Clodagh McGowan an SNA in the school is very passionate about this. It is all making small changes in our daily lives. Everything in the school community has bought into it.
“We are making changes in our school, our homes, and in our community. It is all about having sustainable goals.”