ECO-SCHOOLS is celebrating the registration of its 900th school in Northern Ireland.
The programme, which is run by Tidy NI and sponsored by Airtricity, reached the milestone when the Queen Elizabeth II Primary School in Omagh registered earlier this month.
The sustainable schools programme encourages pupils and teachers to address a variety of environmental topics, ranging from energy to bio-diversity, with schools being awarded the prestigious ‘Green Flag’ for excellence in achieving their environmental goals.
Since launching into the classroom in 1994, the Eco-Schools programme has developed into one of the most popular school activities for teachers and pupils alike, with almost 75% of Northern Ireland’s schools currently registered to participate.
It’s estimated that over 240,000 pupils and 14,500 teachers participate in the programme on an annual basis.
Since awarding the world’s very first ‘Green Flag’ to Downpatrick Nursery in 1994, the Eco-Schools Programme has gone on to award 272 Green Flags, with 162 current Green Flag schools across Northern Ireland.
School Principal, Joyce Clinghan, said: “We’re delighted to be joining the Eco-Schools programme, the pupils are extremely enthusiastic about getting started, setting up the school’s Eco-Committee and embedding the Eco-Schools programme into all aspects of the schools culture.”
Eco-Schools Manager, Carmel Fyfe added: “Everyone at Eco-Schools is extremely proud to have reached this milestone. In a little under five years, the programme has grown from having 360 schools to 900 registered schools, which really demonstrates its popularity amongst pupils and teachers.”
Donal Gormley, Airtricity Development Manager, said: “Airtricity has been working with Eco-Schools for almost two years now and in that time the programme has gone from strength to strength. The response from Eco-Schools participating in Operation Energy, our online energy education programme has been terrific, it’s clear to see what a big role the programme plays in the classroom for both pupils and teachers. An important part of our work at Airtricity is developing sustainable energy practises across society and education programmes like this play a vital part in these efforts.”