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New ‘Native Wildlife’ Workshops from Ulster Wildlife

Niamh Nic Cana   Mon 19 Apr 2021

Starting in May 2021, we are offering three new species based workshops for pupils from P4 – P7 (Key stage two).

  • Barn Owls
  • Hedgehogs
  • Red squirrels

These are iconic and much-loved native species that Ulster Wildlife are currently working to conserve and protect because each one is now recognized as endangered in Northern Ireland.

Take part in one or all of these interactive workshops to learn all about these amazing local creatures, what is threatening their future and how we can each do our part to help them survive and thrive. Curriculum links to ‘The world around us’.

Each online workshop lasts an hour and a half, and costs £75 per class (Approx. 30 pupils)

Full instructions and resources for all activities and games will be emailed prior to the zoom session talk.

In due course, following Government guidelines on Covid 19, we hope to deliver a guide led version of the workshops at your school. The cost of this workshop will be £95 per class (mileage included).

Barn owls

This workshop includes an online zoom talk on Barn owls with time for questions and answers, an investigation of feathers, fun, active, outdoor learning games and a thought provoking activity which looks at the development of our countryside over time. Follow up activities are provided.


This workshop includes an online zoom talk on hedgehogs with time for questions and answers, an outdoor survey for pupils to complete around the school grounds leading to the development of an action plan for helping hedgehogs. The session also includes simple hedgehog craft and fun, active, outdoor learning games. Follow up activities are provided.

Red squirrels

This workshop includes an online zoom talk on Red squirrels with time for questions and answers, followed by fun, active, outdoor learning games and indoor/outdoor craft activities based on Red squirrels. Follow up activities are provided.

Please email the address below for more information or to book a session:


or Phone: 07703 673219

Join Sustrans Big Pedal!

Niamh Nic Cana   Tue 16 Feb 2021

We’re supporting Sustrans Big Pedal, the UK's largest inter-school cycling, walking, wheeling and scooting challenge.

This year's challenge will run from 19 - 30 April 2021. Sustrans Big Pedal is free to enter and there are daily prizes to be won.

On each day of the challenge, schools compete to see who can record the greatest proportion of their pupils, staff and parents cycling, walking, scooting or using a wheelchair to school. Pupils learning remotely can complete a physical activity at home or take another active journey with a family member.

Your school’s best five days will determine your final position, but you can log journeys on all ten days if you wish. For schools unable to take part in the main event we have a one-day challenge, which can include cycling, walking, wheeling and scooting activities during the school day for those attending school.

An active journey to school can help children achieve the 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day recommended by the UK’s Chief Medical Officers. The Department for Education have said encouraging active travel helps “to enable pupils to be physically active while encouraging physical distancing.”

The theme for Sustrans Big Pedal 2021 is amazing journeys. As well as getting active, children will be encouraged to see their local area from a new perspective, learn about the benefits of active travel and discover amazing journeys to school from around the world.

Daily lesson plans and physical activities will be free to download during the challenge, including activities related to Earth Day on 22 April. Options will be available for remote learners.

Sustrans Big Pedal is open to individual classes as well as whole schools. There are fantastic prizes up for grabs on each day of the challenge including equipment and accessories to help schools travel actively to school.

There is also the option to join in on Amazing You Day, a non-uniform day to celebrate the finale of the Big Pedal. Amazing You Day is a great way to involve all pupils in the Big Pedal even if they don’t cycle, walk, scoot or use a wheelchair to get to school. It is also the perfect day to make sure all your journeys are logged to the Big Pedal website. Schools can chose to raise money for Sustrans or their own active travel projects.

Registration is now open. For more information and to register your class or school, visit the www.bigpedal.org.uk.

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.

Schools Pledge their Plastic Promise

Georgina Black   Mon 28 Oct 2019

From banning single use plastic bottles to replacing plastic straws with paper ones, schools across the board are committing to a sustainable plastic pollution free future.

Make your Plastic Promise  

• Saint Johns Primary School

BANNED: Beverage bottles, Lollipop sticks

REDUCED: Packets & wrappers, Cotton buds, Balloons, Carrier bags, Straws, Cutlery, Takeaway cups

• St. Colm’s High School, Draperstown

REDUCED: Packets & wrappers, Cotton buds, Balloons, Carrier bags, Straws, Food containers, Cutlery, Takeaway cups, Lollipop sticks

PLEDGED: Beverage bottles

• St. Matthew’s Primary School, Drumsurn

BANNED: Balloons, Beverage bottles

REDUCED: Straws, Food containers, Takeaway cups

• Down High School

POLICY: Straws, Cutlery

PLEDGED: Packets & wrappers, Balloons, Carrier bags, Food containers, Beverage bottles, Takeaway cups, Lollipop sticks

• Leaney Primary School

BANNED: Straws

REDUCED: Carrier bags, Food containers, Beverage bottles

• St. Malachy's Primary School, Kilclief

BANNED: Straws, Beverage bottles

• St. Ronan’s College

PLEDGED: Food containers, Beverage bottles, Takeaway cups

• St. Patricks College, Maghera

PLEDGED: Packets & wrappers, Takeaway cups

• Thornfield House Special School

PLEDGED: Beverage bottles

• Killean Primary School

BANNED: Balloons, Beverage bottles

REDUCED: Packets & wrappers, Cotton buds, Carrier bags, Straws, Food containers, Cutlery, Takeaway cups, Lollipop sticks

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful with Amazon Smile

Georgina Black   Wed 02 Oct 2019

We live in a time of overconsumption. We all need to use less, borrow more, and be happy with what we have. But we have to do it in steps we can manage. We would always promote use what we have, reuse what others don’t want, buy better and buy local. There are times when this is not always possible and for whatever reason you need to buy from further afield.

Keep Northern Ireland has signed up to Amazon Smile. This means that if you make a purchase using Amazon Smile every purchase you make will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

In order to donate you need to buy through the Amazon Smile site but you can switch to it before paying if you have gone in through the normal amazon site. You can add it to you toolbar to help remind you.

When ordering from Amazon please look at the frustration free packaging option – which will ship you your products without additional packaging, designed to reduce waste in 100% recyclable packaging. Also at checkout choose the option of least number of parcels so items are sent as one rather than lots of separate packages.

Every little bit helps us to do more so please share our link widely and use it sparingly when needed.

Thank you

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful

Into Film Festival (6th - 22nd November)

Georgina Black   Fri 27 Sep 2019


Pupils across Northern Ireland are once again being offered the opportunity to attend free cinema trips and access free resources through the Into Film Festival, with 3,000 film screenings and 200 special events taking place throughout the UK. Returning for its 7th year from 6-22 November, the Festival is the world’s largest free film festival. It’s many themes and topics can be utilised by educators across the curriculum, in subjects such as English, modern foreign languages (MFL), geography, history, PSHE, politics and citizenship. Pupils are also encouraged to enter the annual Into Film Festival film review writing competition to promote literacy through film.

The Festival, hosted by film education charity, Into Film, will launch this year with an ambitious, environmentally themed event that spans the UK with the support of Greenpeace and UNICEF. Featured will be simultaneous pupil premieres of the new climate change documentary “2040”, followed by a Q&A session with director Damon Gameau. “2040” has been cited as the first film aimed at young audiences to offer a hopeful response to youth ‘eco-anxiety.’

This year’s Festival is comprised of eight strands that can help educators navigate the packed programme: Mental Wellbeing & Identity, Language & Creativity, The Natural World, Exploring History, Debate, Fantasy & Adventure, Rebellion and Musicals.

Some of the highlights for Northern Ireland are;


• Pupil premiere of the Biggest Little Farm at Strand Arts,

• March of the Penguins 2 followed by a workshop with Wee Critters at the Braid in Ballymena,

• Irish language screening of The Breadwinner followed by review writing at Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich

The Into Film Festival 2019 will take place from 6-22 November. All events and screenings are free.

For programme information, book tickets and download resources visit Into Film

For more information on the 2040 film and campaign, go to WhatsYour2040

For general Into Film NI contact Peter Murray, Into Film Programme Coordinator.

School Climate Strike Action

Georgina Black   Fri 27 Sep 2019

St Colm’s Climate Strike in Draperstown

St. Colm’s High School, along with local primary schools in Screen Eco-schools, took part the Global Climate Strike 2019. They organised a strike at the entrance to the parish of Ballinascreen, County Londonderry, on 20th September 2019. Over 300 pupils and staff took part. When asked why they were striking the pupils held very strong opinions on the need for change.

“We feel passionately about our planet and preserving it for future generations. We want the people in power to hear what we have to say. We are the future and we need to have a secure future!!”

St. Colm’s was awarded the UK’s TES Sustainable Schools Award at a ceremony in London in June of this year and it is one of the most active Ambassador Eco-Schools here in Northern Ireland.

A Week of Climate Action at St Ronan’s College

St Ronan’s College, Lurgan, organised a full week of discussions and activities before the climate strike on 20th September, to encourage pupils and staff members to sign their climate pledge. This pledge calls for actions that will halt climate breakdown and increase awareness about global warming. The initiative has seen the participation of the entire school and an all School Assembly on Climate Action held on Friday 20th with Mrs Bernadette McAliskey as special guest speaker.

On the same day, St Ronan’s College launched their new reusable water bottles in an attempt to cut down on their plastic waste… their next step will be signing their Plastic Promise on the Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful website. Be the next to sign it!

YRE/Into Film Workshops

Georgina Black   Fri 27 Sep 2019   updated: Tue 29 Oct 2019

We are delighted to announce that Eco-Schools NI and Into FILM have partnered-up to offer 2 workshops free of charge this November for teachers about storytelling and filmmaking.

These training courses will allow you to become more familiar with the Young Reporters for the Environment programme and at the same time, it will offer you a guide for your project delivery.

Attending the YRE/Into FILM workshops can be used towards your CPD progress and will open the possibility to start new collaborations within your school with colleagues in other departments (e.g. Film-Club coordinator and media coordinator).

Registrations are now open for interested teachers, so please contact Francesca.


10am-2pm Strule Arts Centre, Omagh - 26th November 2019

10am-2pm Crawfordsburn Country Park, Bangor - 27th November 2019

More details coming soon

Why the Global Climate Strike is happening

Georgina Black   Wed 11 Sep 2019

“Our house is on fire”

These words, spoken at the 2019 World Economic Forum by internationally known, teenage environmentalist, Greta Thunberg, encapsulate the urgency required in the battle against Climate Breakdown. This summer alone we have experienced some of the most extreme weather conditions on record, not just in Northern Ireland, but globally. In the Netherlands, it has been reported that there was a nearly 14% increase in deaths during the week of the heat wave in which the highest temperature ever for the Netherlands was recorded at about 400C. This record temperature was not a standalone occurrence as the heatwave swept across Europe. The Arctic Circle has been facing unprecedented wildfires and the Amazon Rainforest, the ‘lungs of the Earth’, have been set on fire to satisfy political and corporate greed that overconsumption drives.

We can no longer speak of Climate Change. This is a Climate Crisis.

Since Greta first began striking in August last year, young people have felt increasingly empowered to take similar action to raise awareness surrounding climate breakdown and demand climate justice. There have been a series of youth strikes and protests since, and several international youth environmental conservation organisations have been established to organise this mass citizen action. Such organisations include Fridays for Future, Youth Strike4Climate, and the UK Student Climate Network.

These organizations and their members recognize that while they did not cause climate breakdown, it is a burden they will have to bear unless immediate, systematic changes are made. The strikes and protests that have been occurring more frequently and on an international level, are a direct result of the climate crisis the world is facing.

However, this is not just a battle for young people to fight, this is multigenerational struggle and everyone needs to get involved in some way. It is for this reason that Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful (the organisation that runs the Northern Irish Eco-Schools programme) has announced that it will be supporting the Youth Strike for Climate Change on the 20th September 2019. Locally, we are adding our voices to the growing number of people who are demanding more concerted action on protecting our environment.

Beyond anything else, the Global Climate Strike is a call to action. Here at Eco-Schools Northern Ireland, we believe that action is the best response to climate breakdown. That is why we have renamed our Climate Change topic to Climate Action – action generates hope and creates positive change. We want pupils to engage with the practical solutions to the problems we face and how they can work to tackle climate breakdown. The Eco-Schools programme, and especially the Green Flag Award, is a pupil lead initiative that empowers young people to make positive environmental changes in their schools and communities which is why, as an organisation, we are lending our support to them on this global day of action. We would encourage you to support any pupils who may independently wish to join the Global Climate Strike.

Speaking about supporting the strike, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, Ian Humphreys, said;

“I want to commend those people, young and old, who are peacefully yet powerfully challenging us all to make a real difference on these undeniable issues. It is for those reasons and a belief that change is always possible that I am delighted to lend our organisations support to this day of action.”

“The Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs is launching a consultation for the 25-year environmental plan this month. I would urge every person taking part in this strike to make their voices heard and ensure that we get a massive response to this consultation and a plan that can actually deliver better outcomes for our environment.”

We still have time to act, but we must act now.

Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE)

Georgina Black   Thu 22 Aug 2019   updated: Mon 02 Sep 2019

Have you ever thought about the journey of plastics from its provenance to the sea when you collect litter along the beach or you find a plastic bag floating beside you while swimming?

One of the biggest issues in Northern Ireland and UK it is the amount of packaging still found on the counter in our supermarkets and shops. If we can tackle plastic at its source, we can contribute to reduce this problem. What can we do? To start:

• REFUSE - look out for products that have no packaging and bring your reusable bag

• REDUCE - buy less

• RECYCLE – learn how much packaging is recyclable and how to dispose of it correctly

We want to hear your thoughts on tackling plastic packaging and therefore we are inviting 25 Post-Primary Schools to express their ideas by taking part in this year Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE), working on video-reportage, photo campaign, or written article about “Packaging and land-originated plastic pollution”.

See last year’s winners of the International YRE Competition in the Photo Category, Max and Josh Kamalarajah, who won for two years in a row.

Taking part in the competition will help you to build new skills, boost your confidence and support you and your school towards your Green Flag Award, while doing something active to protect the environment and to increase awareness about important topics, such as climate breakdown and plastic pollution.

Do not miss the opportunity to make your voice heard and collaborate with other young people abroad by registering with us!

Please get in touch with Francesca to express your interest as soon as possible. Places are limited.

Please choose at least three lesson plans among the ones suggested below, and let us know your choice when you send back your registration form.

Waste Management

Before you begin

15-18 Years – Household Waste Survey


Before you Begin

11-14 Years – Litter…why does it matter?

15-18 Years – Litter Blitz


Before you Begin

11-14 Years – Purpose of Packaging

13-16 Years – Smart Shopping Choices

15-18 Years – Finding Solutions

Sustainable Consumption

Before you begin

15-18 Years – I am a Consumer

Sustainability and Waste

Before you Begin

15-18 Years – Celebrate your local festival in an environmentally friendly way

15-18 Years - Culture Waste

Learning to be an Environmental Journalist

Before you begin

15-18 Years - Writing an Article

15-18 years – International Trade in Waste

15-18 Years – Photographs tell a Story

15-18 Using Video to Communicate

Reducing your schools Carbon Footprint

Georgina Black   Thu 22 Aug 2019

There is a growing urgency within all organisations to cultivate the highest environmental standards. With this in mind, we would like to take this opportunity to remind Eco-Schools, especially those who hold current Green Flags, of our responsibilities in the fight against Climate Breakdown.

We are tightening our regulations within Eco-Schools to reflect the seriousness of the newly announced Climate Emergency. It is only by changing our mind-sets and working together with the same unified goals, that we will make strides at a local level, that will have a global impact.

With this in mind we would like to introduce these new Eco-Schools policies:

• Schools should reduce and, where possible, eliminate, Single use Plastics in favour of reusable carriers even during school trips and outside school events (make your Plastic Promise)

• Balloon releases will result in a warning. If a second offense occurs, a school holding a Green Flag will have their award revoked

• Glitter and balloons should be banned on school grounds

• There should be no stipulation for new stationary every school year and we would highly encourage uniform swaps from year to year where possible

But it’s not all about what you can’t do but more importantly about what you can do!

Some Positive Environmental Steps to reduce your school’s Carbon Footprint

• Swap and hand down uniforms in acceptable condition

• Re-purpose lost property items

• Use Eco-Friendly glitter and paper straws

• Reduce your internet carbon footprint by using search engines such as Ecosia

• Raise awareness of your school’s great work using the #TacklingPlasticNI and #liveherelovehere hashtag on any social media posts

• Write letters to local governments and MPs, boycott items and companies that are unsustainable, and petition for better environmental laws

• Turn off lights and other electrical appliances when not in use

• Make your schools Plastic Promise

• Get involved in the Eco-Schools programme including our projects, events and competitions!

This list is by no means definitive and we would greatly encourage you to share your eco-successes with us so we can work to inspire others to join in with your amazing work. Together we can and will tackle Climate Breakdown and create a cleaner, greener Northern Ireland. The best time to act on Climate Breakdown was 10 years ago, the second best time is now.

Practicing what we preach

Within our office at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, we have decided to take targeted action to reduce our Carbon Footprint. With this in mind we have developed the following policies:

• Once our current supplies of Eco-Schools merchandise have been used up, we will no longer be providing 'goodie bags' after a Green Flag has been awarded (this will not include the Green Flag itself which will continue to be awarded to schools to be displayed on school grounds – it’s something to be celebrated after all!)

• All staff have made their own Plastic Promise in an effort to reduce the use of Single Use Plastics

• Minimize use of private transport using public transport where possible

• Switch off electronics when not in use

• Use recycled paper for printing and only printing when absolutely necessary

• Holding our suppliers to high environmental standards

We definitely aren't perfect yet and there is definitely more to be added to the list but we are trying to improve every day!

Ocean Summit

Georgina Black   Thu 22 Aug 2019

An Taisce, The National Trust for Ireland, will be holding an “Ocean Summit” in one of their ambassador secondary schools just outside Dublin in October. Along with this event, they would like to extend an invitation to students from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England as part of a 2-day trip. The Ocean Summit would be held on day one and day two would involve a beach workshop activity day.

The summit will feature presentations from students and various workshops and activities with a key-note address from Fionn Ferreira (the student from Cork who just won the international Google science award for his micro plastics project).

An Taisce will cover all costs for travel, accommodation and food for 3 students and 1 teacher/guardian from a school in each of these countries. They can also organise all accommodation and provide the funds for each group to arrange their travel.

Please contact us for more information on how to get involved in this amazing opportunity.

Wrigley Litter Less – The Return of the Campaign

Georgina Black   Thu 22 Aug 2019   updated: Fri 13 Sep 2019

Year on year we have seen the number of eco-warriors grow thanks to the amazing participation of schools in the internationally renowned, Wrigley Litter Less Campaign. With the support of the Wrigley Foundation, we hope to make this school year the best so far!

The Wrigley Litter Less Campaign (LLC) is entering its 9th year in September 2019 and we would love you to join this global, anti-litter, anti-waste movement.

This is a special year as we join the rest of the world in looking at our relationship with packaging. The emphasis this year is placed on the issue of packaging in Northern Ireland as we try to raise awareness of the plastic pollution our country produces. Therefore, this year’s campaign will have a title: “Packaging and Land-Originated Plastic Pollution”.

Some of the most common household packaging – including crisp bags, pizza boxes and toothpaste tubes – are often not able to be recycled. Packaging is the first thing that consumers see, and it can heavily influence their buying decisions.

Taking part in the campaign will help you to work towards your Green Flag Award, while doing something active to protect the environment. Do not miss the opportunity to register your interest with us, so please get in touch with Francesca to express your interest as soon as possible.

Eco-Schools Wrigley LLC 2019/2020

This year we are looking for 25 primary schools to take part in the Campaign, and asking them to choose one criterion among three possible criteria (weight of litter in the school grounds; weight of paper recycled in the school; weight of dry recyclable material). You will have to run the campaign all year from September until the deadline for your final report on 8th April 2020.

Your first measurement, sent by the end of October 2019, will set your official participation to the international campaign, with the possibility of twinning with any other Eco-School abroad, along with your entitlement to receive funding to support your campaign.

Express your interest in participating by getting in touch with Francesca and you will receive your registration form.

Please choose three lesson plans from the ten ones suggested below to run your campaign on “Packaging and land-originated plastic pollution” and list your preference in the registration form along with the criterion your school will work on during the campaign.

Waste Management

Before you Begin

9-12 Years – Understanding Waste

9-12 years – School Waste Audit


Before you begin

9-12 + 13-16 Years – Litter Pick


Before you Begin

6-8 Years – Understanding Packaging

Marine Waste

Before you Begin

9-12 Years – Marine Pollution