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Wrigley Litter Less Campaign and YRE this year together!

Georgina Black   Wed 30 Sep 2020   updated: Wed 07 Oct 2020

Do you feel the urge to do something for the environment and your community?

Get involved in the longest-running, international school campaign.

The Litter Less Campaign is celebrating its 10-year anniversary and we would like to celebrate this milestone with all teachers and pupils that have made this campaign such a fantastic success.

This year again, through the support of Mars Wrigley Foundation, we are delighted to support schools in implementing their anti-litter and waste projects to reduce waste production, pollution and promote positive behaviour change to protect our biodiversity and improve our communities.

25 Primary Schools are called to take action and show we can be the change we are asking for.

This year, in occasion of the 10th anniversary we are also celebrating inclusivity by opening the registration for the Young Reporters for the Environment Competition to Special Educational Needs Schools and P7 pupils. As part of the Wrigley Litter Less Campaign, the YRE competition will offer to young pupils 10+ the opportunity to share their environmental message by being creative through a photo campaign accompanied by a catchy phrase or a slogan, which your school could use as new Eco-Code if applying for a Green Flag.

Prize money is available for both projects and schools can apply for both initiatives at the same time.

Get in touch with Francesca for more information and hurry up since spaces are limited.

During these uncertain times our schools kept working on tackling litter issues in Northern Ireland successfully completing the Wrigley Litter Less Campaign on time and providing a great contribution to the international impact report the Foundation for Environmental Education present each year to the Mars Wrigley foundation.

Primary schools submitted their data and final reports on litter, waste and recycling system implementation within their schools, proving once again their commitment to promote positive behaviour changes and to protect the environment. Beside this success the Eco-Schools team registered a fantastic response to the campaign run by post-primary schools through the Young Reporters for the Environment competition. We had very high standard entries this year, and winners of the National Competition were announced in June through a video celebration on our social media channels. Winners of the International Competition will be announced in September, so stay tuned!

Registration for The Wrigley Litter Less Campaign and YRE 2021 will open soon.

Continue to Say No to Single Use

Georgina Black   Mon 10 Aug 2020   updated: Thu 27 Aug 2020

It’s term time again! The start of the new school year is an important date; we start as we mean to continue.

These have been very challenging times for the education sector.

As an Eco-school, you had already been working so hard to take action against plastic pollution before COVID-19.

This is a reminder of all the good work your school has done to reduce your single use plastic footprint! It’s more important than ever to pick up where we left off. We can influence pupils and staff to make sustainable switches now.

‘What’s in your lunchbox’ is a great place to start; encourage children to use reusable lunchboxes and reusable drinks bottles.

Even better news - scientists have recently published evidence that reusables are perfectly safe to use during the pandemic so you can encourage your school to return to non-plastic alternatives. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways of reducing your use in-school.

However, we understand all schools are acting with the interests of keeping staff and pupils safe at all times, therefore using reusables may be outside of your control at present but there is still plenty to tackle at home.

A recent survey by Everyday Plastic Survey has found that domestic plastic waste increased under lockdown conditions, particularly fruit and veg packaging, snack wrappers, parcel bags and PPE. So if you feel that you cannot reduce your use at school, you can definitely encourage staff and pupils to start at home! Simple switches such as using disinfectant spray and a cloth instead of antibacterial plastic wipes is a small step that makes a big difference.

Get inspiration from other schools who have made their Plastic Promise and remember to reduce your use where you can.


Eco-Schools Five Senses Challenge

Francesca Di Palo   Fri 17 Apr 2020   updated: Tue 19 May 2020

How much do we know of the world surrounding us that is not only what we see or hear?

Every week Eco-Schools NI will propose a new challenge inspired by our senses as part of our #stayconnected campaign during this COVID-19 emergency.

Every work done by the pupils of the same school can be used as evidence for your Green Flag application during this time.

Upload it to the Resource Library of your School Zone.

PLEASE SHARE WITH US ON our social channels

FACEBOOK | Eco-Schools Northern Ireland Official

TWITTER | Eco-Schools (@Eco_SchoolsNI)

INSTAGRAM | eco.ni KNIB Environmental Education

USING #stayconnected #ecoschoolsstayhome #yrestayshome OR SEND AN EMAIL TO francesca.dipalo@keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org


You can taken on any of the challenges at any time!

#YREstayshome Challenge – Stay Home and Stay Active

Georgina Black   Mon 30 Mar 2020

#YREstayshome Challenge – Stay Home and Stay Active

YRE International is challenging you, your family and your students! We can still be an ambassador of the environment and influence our community while being at home.

Indeed, YRE students from all around the world show solidarity by staying inside to avoid the spread of COVID-19, but FEE and the YRE programme also want to transform this unusual time into an opportunity for them to investigate and report on environmental issues and solutions linked to the current situation.


Weekly challenges will be published on our social media platforms e.g. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Choose a challenge you want to participate in and respond to it by making posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Don’t forget to tag YRE International and us, so we can share your work! Use always the hashtag #YREstayshome and you will enter the international competition.


For articles, photo stories and videos you do not want to post on social media please contact Francesca and your work will be upload on the YRE International Hub.

Challenges are open to any young person willing to participate! Find out more here.

Translink Travel Challenge 2019-20

Georgina Black   Thu 28 Nov 2019   updated: Fri 20 Dec 2019

Translink and the Eco-Schools programme are encouraging schools across Northern Ireland to make ‘smart moves’ by participating in the Translink Travel Challenge, cutting down on car congestion around school gates and boosting pupil health and wellbeing.

The two-week challenge which schools can undertake during spring or summer school term, promotes walking, cycling, bus and train travel for the school run instead of car use. It incorporates curriculum-linked resources and encourages schools to develop sustainable travel plans as a way to achieve the prestigious Eco-Schools Green Flag Award.

Since its launch in 2008, pupils, parents and other members of the school community have made over 300,000 sustainable journeys, with the aim of protecting the environment and promoting positive behaviour change.

The Translink Travel Challenge is now open to all schools. You can complete your Challenge in any two-week period you chose as long as you submit the results by the deadline of Tuesday 19th May 2020. This means that your latest start date must be by Monday 4th May 2020 (May Bank Holiday 8th May).

In addition to Eco-Schools awards, classes and pupils who show the greatest change towards sustainable transport use will also be rewarded by Translink with funds and travel prizes.

If you are interested in taking part in the Translink Eco-Schools Travel Challenge, contact Francesca

Registration online is now available. Visit your School Zone and enter the Year Planner Section.

One BIG Opportunity

Georgina Black   Tue 29 Oct 2019   updated: Fri 20 Dec 2019

The Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs has launched a consultation to develop a 25 year plan for our environment.

That gives you One BIG Opportunity to make a real difference and we want to make sure decision makers hear from you.

Here’s how: copy and paste these environmental asks listed below, and email back to DAERA by 5pm on 5th February 2020.

Remember to say who you are and include your age.

It’s that simple. Use just ONE email to take your ONE BIG Opportunity to make a lasting impact on our environment.



Question No.1 Response

Create healthier communities by providing opportunities to get together more outdoors in accessible public spaces to do good and feel good through practical environmental action.

This should link in with other strategies around sustainable development, mental Health and well-being. Research has shown the benefits that volunteering has for an individual’s general health.

Questions No.4 Response

Inform every young person about climate breakdown, the loss of our wildlife and marine plastic pollution and what it means for our future. Help us find ways to raise awareness and to take action together. Declare a

climate emergency.

Question No.5 Response

Invest more in public transport making our dependence on cars less necessary and improving air quality

Question No.7 Response

Plant more native trees. We have the lowest level of tree cover anywhere in Europe and want to see 20% of our land planted with trees; important for nature to thrive.

Create a waste free society where we use less, waste less and stop polluting our seas. And anything we use, including single use plastics,

needs to be part of a truly circular economy.

Help everyone learn how to grow more tasty local food and provide plants for our pollinating bees.

Question No.10 Response

All of the above.

Nominations for Eco-Teacher of the Year Award now open!

Georgina Black   Tue 29 Oct 2019   updated: Mon 10 Feb 2020

Calling all teachers, principals, students, parents and members of the community. Is there a teacher that inspires you to grow, to build a better future and is truly passionate about the environment? Now is your chance to celebrate them by nominating them as the Eco-Teacher of the year.

How to enter:

Pupils are invited to explain why their Eco-Teacher should be awarded “Eco-Teacher of the Year 2020” in any format, whether that be in the form of a poem, letter, storyboard, essay, photos, video or whatever way best answers the question.

Written entries should be no more than 250 words and video entries should be no more than 5 minutes.

There will be two teachers selected; one primary school teacher and one post-primary school teacher. These teachers will be celebrated at this year's Eco-Schools Change Makers Youth Summit on 25th March 2020.

This competition is open to all schools. One entry per school. The deadline for the competition is the Friday 6th March 2020.

Email entries to: Eco-Schools or post them to Eco-Schools, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, Bridge House, 2 Paulett Avenue, Belfast, BT5 4HD.

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful have been working with Culture Night & Day (CNB) to support them in their journey to reduce single-use plastic. To kick things off they added their Plastic Promise, making their commitment public and to encourage everyone to get on board. As they continue to reduce their use, they can revisit their Plastic Promise at any time and set new goals and targets and get higher up the leadership board.

This year CNB took a stand against plastic, they are committed to reducing on-site waste, meeting green objectives and developing more sustainable ways of producing their event. Focusing on proper recycling, encouraging festival goers to bring their own reusable bottles, cups and food containers, informing traders to easily accept and encourage reusable items and much more. Check out their green checklist for more information.

Simple things.. just by encouraging people to bring their reusables to events like this one and when out and about can make a big difference. Such as, polystyrene food containers and coffee cups used for only a matter of minutes to suit our convenient lifestyle are avoided and less overall waste clogging up our already over stretched collection systems. If we just take a moment to stop, think and prepare we can enjoy the events like this one, but not contribute to the aftermath of litter and bin waste.

Our Young Reporters for the Environment also got involved and one student, Maria Aaroy, from St Dominic’s High School, took the opportunity to interview Joe Nawaz, Marketing & Communications Manager at CNB. Joe shares with Maria why they decided to add their Plastic Promise, the importance of CNB being a sustainable, green event and what their aspirations are for the future. Watch it here.

We all need to play our part in reducing our use of pointless plastic. We need more events, organisations, individuals declaring their Plastic Promise and taking action. Sign your Plastic Promise now!

Ocean Summit – Dublin 2019

Georgina Black   Tue 29 Oct 2019

In October Northern Irish Young Reporters for the Environment students spent two days learning about our seas and oceans at two Green-Schools events in Meath and Dublin. Ireland’s first Ocean Assembly for secondary students was held in Ashbourne Community College on Tuesday 15th October, and on Wednesday, students from St. Colm’s High School, Belfast Royal Academy, Wallace High School and St. Dominic’s High School joined Green-Schools at Portmarnock for the launch of the Green-Schools ‘newest campaign ‘Sea Starts Here’ to combat litter pollution. With the permission of Fingal County Council, students and Green-Schools staff used stencils to spray paint the ‘sea starts here’ message at road drains, drawing attention to the link between land-based activities and marine pollution.

The YRE students met Google Science Fair winner Fionn Ferreira who had his presentation on micro-plastic at the event. During the 2-day event, the ambassador school advised participating schools on the seven steps of the Green-Schools programme, along with a tour of their school and a talk on social media and environmental campaigns.

Cathy Baxter, Green-Schools Manager said: “We have enjoyed two exceptional days of learning about our seas and oceans and what we can do to prevent further pollution. The enthusiasm of our secondary school students cannot be underestimated; they are so keen to learn more and more about their environment and climate change and what they can do to help”.

There are currently 16 secondary schools working on the Marine Environment theme in Ireland. Eco-Schools Northern Ireland has launched the Marine Topic this year wishing to reach the same encouraging number in the next couple of years!

This event and many others can be the opportunity for our schools to discover how their work on the Eco-Schools and YRE programmes has positively, influenced people and their local environment and how our young people can be game changers.