Pupils from Scoil Mhuire Swanlinbar celebrate winning the Bord na Móna Eco Rangers award
Scoil Mhuire NS Swanlinbar from Cavan claimed the top prize as they were crowned Eco Rangers School of the Year while Drumlease NS won a gold award at the 1st Annual Eco Rangers Awards which took place in Lough Boora Discovery Park on Wednesday.
The awards saw 12 of the best schools come together to celebrate their outstanding efforts and hard work throughout the programme. This year, the Bord na Móna Eco Rangers schools programme saw a record number of 660 schools sign up across the country, with over 50,000 children participating in the programme this year.
Drumlease NS won a gold award for the Best Creative Interpretation while St Michael's School in Castlerea won an award for Best Habitat Map
Commenting on the announcement, Sara Byrne, Brand Manager at Bord na Móna said ‘The introduction of the awards this year mean that we can recognise the efforts of the schools across the country. We were overwhelmed by the quality of the entries for the awards at each level and it was a tough decision trying to pick a winner for School of the Year.
“Scoil Mhuire National School Cavan demonstrated whole school involvement in the programme and the creativity in their submission was truly fantastic.
“Schools from Kildare, Offaly, Tipperary, Limerick, Clare, Longford, Roscommon, Leitrim and Cavan were shortlisted for the awards. The Eco Rangers programme is about encouraging schools to make a small change and to get back outside, reconnect with nature and to protect the habitats near them.
“The programme is linked to the school curriculum but by incorporating more time out in outside through playful exploring, it makes learning more enjoyable.”
Eco Rangers aims to reconnect children with nature and teaches them the importance of protecting nature through a series of educational and fun elements.
Teachers are provided with all the tools they need such as teachers’ packs, lesson plans, classroom games and access to the Eco Rangers website with all the resources they need.
This enables classes to embark on Eco Safaris, nature walks, where they can map out nature trails, look at and investigate flora and fauna, take photos or draw pictures and document what they see.
Eco Rangers aims at encouraging children to learn about different habitats and ecosystems and recognise the importance of protecting them to eventually become Guardians of the Land.
While the emphasis is on schools to participate in Eco Rangers, the introduction of the awards has resulted in the Eco Rangers website being populates with over 140 Eco Safaris across the country which can be enjoyed outside school hours by children and parents and the wider communities around Ireland.