This is Irene O’Mahony’s bright idea for Cork.

Teach primary school pupils about the importance of conserving and protecting our natural resources.


Derrinagree National School is seeking funding for maths & science resources to enable the pupils to successfully complete the ‘Green-Schools’ programme.

The ‘Green-Schools’ programme is an international environmental management system and award scheme that promotes and acknowledges long-term, whole school action for the environment. Derrinagree National School has already been awarded the green flag for ‘Litter & Waste’ and also ‘Energy.

The school is next seeking the ‘Water’ flag. Facilitating the pupils to work through the steps to achieve this flag will give these pupils a unique and innovative perspective and understanding on the importance of conserving and protecting our natural resources.

Through the pupils interactive engagement with environmental issues and improving their local community, the pupils learn the difference small changes can make and feel empowered to believe they can make a difference.

In achieving the first flag for ‘litter & waste’ the pupils learned to move from knowing a problem exists to creating and implementing a solution. They learned about the wider impact of litter & waste on our environment. For the ‘energy’ flag the pupils built a solar oven etc.

The next flag is for ‘Water’. This will require the pupils to calculate the average water consumption per day/week/month/year. Analyse if water consumption varies at different times of the year, why and where is the water used.

The pupils will need to:

  • Analyse the problem
  • Devise an action plan and implement it
  • Develop method to measure success and maintain

A tap dripping once a second wastes 45,000 litres of water a year. In 2012/2013 academic year Green-Schools in Ireland saved 300,000,000 litres of water. That’s a per capita per year reduction of 1163.11 litres.

The ‘Green-Schools’ programme has a built in sustainability clause which ensures a new flag will not be awarded if the ethos and improvements employed in the previous flags plans are not being properly monitored and enforced.

This programme:

  • Helps pupils to understand important concepts,
  • They learn how to identify a problem, formulate an action plan & oversee implementation
  • Develop new skills – learn to form predictions and make observations
  • Cost saving for the school
  • Pupils learn how to research, interpret and report on a topic – skills which will stand to them through further education and career
  • Bringing community together to celebrate Derrinagree N.S. successfully navigating through the Green-Schools programme.