Posted 11/03/2015 00:00:00 Thousands of students from across Northern Ireland joined in celebrating the 20th anniversary of the International Eco-Schools Programme at a special event at Magherfelt’s Meadowbank Sports Arena on 5th March 2015.

The event organised by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, the environmental charity that operates   the Eco-Schools Programme in Northern Ireland, was created to thank pupils and teachers for their unwavering dedication and to provide a forum to inspire new ideas.  With every school in Northern Ireland now signed up to the programme, it is more important than ever before that schools showcase their green credentials.

Eco-Schools Ambassador Frank Mitchell compered the event; a World Record attempt was made; Scientific Sue dazzled with an explosive presentation and Junk Kouture treated students to a unique ‘recycled fashion show’.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said: “I would like to acknowledge the dedication and commitment shown by both staff and pupils throughout the North over the last 20 years of the Eco-Schools programme. I am delighted that every school in Northern Ireland is now an Eco-School, the first region in the world to achieve this distinction.  Downpatrick Nursery School was the first school in the world to achieve Green Flag status. The challenge now is for every school to become a Green Flag School.” 
Josh Bradley, Communications Manager, SSE Airtricity said: “At SSE Airtricity, we’re proud to have helped Eco-Schools set the sustainable agenda throughout classrooms over the last four years. In particular, the engagement from Eco-Schools on the energy topic has been second to none, with 500 schools registering for Operation Energy and more than £10,000 saved in energy costs through Power Down Day. The popularity of the programme amongst pupils and teachers alike is clear to see, and one that we at SSE Airtricity have taken real inspiration from.”
Carmel Fyfe, Eco-Schools Manager, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said: “The success of the Eco-Schools programme in NI’s schools is testament to the achievements of our young people and dedication of the teachers involved and we should all be very proud of them. 340,000 pupils and teachers from across NI are now involved in this prestigious international programme completing all kinds of environmental projects from recycling and energy saving, to developing school gardens and living healthily. Eco-Schools is not only helping our young people to develop habits that will last a lifetime but is making a real difference to our local environment.  This was a special opportunity to bring schools together to celebrate their achievements and to be inspired with new ideas in environmental action.”   

The event was attended by Daniel Schaffer, CEO, and Brid Conneely, International Eco-Schools Director, from the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) the international coordinating organisation for the Eco-Schools Programme worldwide. 

Eco-Schools Northern Ireland, operated by environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, supported by DOE and sponsored by SSE Airtricity, are the first country in the world to reach 100% of schools registered on the programme. They can also boast the first ever Green Flag in the world awarded to Downpatrick Nursery School in 1994. 

A full list of sponsors and exhibitors is available at .
Eco-Schools, sponsored by SSE Airtricity, is a free-to-enter programme that has real benefits for pupils, teachers and the school budget!  The programme is delivered to schools throughout Northern Ireland in partnership with a range delivery partners including most Councils.