Awareness of biodiversity
Status of biodiversity
Threats to biodiversity
Measures that safeguard biodiversity
Measures that mainstream biodiversity
Benefits derived from biodiversity and ecosystem services
Impacts on biodiversity outside of Ireland
Knowledge of Irish biodiversity
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The Green-Schools programme is coordinated by FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education) at an international level and is known internationally as ‘Eco-Schools’. Eco-Schools, is an international environmental education programme, environmental management system and award scheme that promotes and acknowledges long-term, whole school action for the environment. The aim of Eco-Schools (Green-Schools in Ireland) is to increase students’ and participants’ awareness of environmental issues through classroom studies and to transfer this knowledge into positive environmental action in the school and also in the wider community. Schools that have successfully completed all the elements of the programme are awarded the ‘Green Flag’. This award has now become a well-recognised international Eco-Label. To ensure high standards are maintained and the sustainability of the programme the award has to be renewed by award recipients every two years.
An Taisce has operated the Green-Schools programme in Ireland since 1997 and operational and institutional partnerships are very much at the core of successful delivery and development of the programme. The Green-Schools programme is operated in partnership with Local Authorities throughout Ireland and is funded by the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government; Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport; and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht through the National Parks & Wildlife Service. The Wrigley Company is also a long time sponsor of the programme.
There are currently over 3,830 primary, secondary and special schools participating in the Green-Schools programme. This represents over 93% of all schools in Ireland. 2,991 of these schools have achieved Green Flag status with approximately 200 additional schools joining the Green-Schools programme per year (195 schools in 2014). In 2014 An Taisce awarded 1,154 schools with Green Flags in recognition of their achievements (there are currently 1,110 schools projected to be awarded in 2015). This is one of the reasons why the Irish Green-Schools programme is considered one of the most successful national programmes within the international network of 66 FEE countries and is recognised as an example of international best practice.
The Green-Schools programme in Ireland is operated in a thematic manner. The themes are (1) Litter & Waste (2) Energy (3) Water (4) School Travel (5) Biodiversity (6) Global Citizenship Litter & Waste and (7) Gloabl Citizenship Energy. Biodiversity is the fifth theme of the programme to be introduced at a national level. It was launched as an official theme of the Green-Schools programme with the support of the National Parks & Wildlife Service in September 2010. The overall aim of this theme is for schools to increase awareness of the importance of biodiversity, the services it provides and for students to understand its impact on our everyday lives. Participating schools are encouraged to create a positive impact on the biological diversity of local flora and fauna where possible. Schools are also encouraged to improve and preserve the natural quality of important local habitats such as; meadows, rivers, woodlands, coastal areas etc., by designing and implementing a biodiversity action plan. Furthermore, schools aim to improve biodiversity locally by undertaking various projects such as: planting native wildflower gardens, planting native trees, erecting bird and bat boxes, organic gardening and creating nature trails. Schools regularly undertake various action based projects as part of the programme including; surveying local ecosystems, habitat mapping and participating in national and international species surveys and recoding programmes.
More information on Green-Schools in Ireland can be found here:
Green-Schools, the Irish section of an international programme known as Eco-Schools, is an environmental education programme, environmental management system and award scheme that promotes and acknowledges long-term, whole school action for the environment. In Ireland, the schools are awarded flags for their achievements on specific environmental themes. The ‘Biodiversity’ theme was added in 2010.