A year of eco endeavour has earned wider recognition for a group of young environmentalists from a Carrickfergus school.
Ulidia Integrated College’s team secured second place in the post primary category of the Eco-Committee of the Year Award.
Their efforts have reduced food waste by 12.5% across the college through the Wrigley’s project. They have raised biodiversity within school grounds through tree planting and are planning to increase the number of animal homes on the site over the summer term.
The Eco-Schools programme is run by environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, sponsored by SSE Airtricity and supported by the Department of the Environment.
Ulidia committee members and staff attended the ceremony at the Everglades Hotel in Londonderry and also enjoyed a tour of Slieve Kirk Wind Park.
The school, which renewed its internationally recognised Green Flag award for the third time, was recognsied for the outstanding amount of environmental projects in which it is involved.
All entrants should be very proud of your workEnvironment Minister
During the year, the team has also focused on wildlife by taking part in the Big Bird Watch and inviting a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ representative to help survey the grounds. The results of this have helped the group plan building projects for animal homes.
In a statement, Ulidia added: “They have reduced litter in our wider community by adopting a spot and taking part in regular litter picking events in the community. These have included picks at Cave Hill and they incorporated a big spring clean into their litter picking activities
“During term two the team focused on fair trade and led a whole school fair trade event which helped them achieve a fair trade schools ‘aware’ award for the college.
“The team led the Translink challenge this year. All students in year 9 took part, during the project the group covered up to 5,044km of sustainable travel.
“A sub group of the team, which included four year 11 students successfully gained funding for their energy app, which is currently a work in progress, we hope to launch the app this term. The app is aimed at KS3 (Key Stage 3) students and hopes to help students with their Science and Geography studies, as well as raise awareness of the importance of conserving energy. All this was done while maintaining zero waste status for the college.”
Pupils received their awards from Mark H Durkan, Minister for the Environment.
Mr Durkan said: “Whenever I visit Eco-Schools I see the passion, pride and potential of the people who will be the next generation of leaders and workers in all walks of life. I take great pride in being here today to recognise these achievements.
“All entrants should be very proud of your work. Seeing the energy and enthusiasm displayed by all of you, and the other Eco-Schools, gives me tremendous hope for the future of our environment.”