Children and teachers from across the district have been recognised for their environmental work at the annual Eco-Schools Green Flag Awards.
Local youth environmental activist, Emer Rafferty from Ballymacnab in Co Armagh, spoke at the event and encouraged young people across the district to continue their environmental journey throughout their school life and on into their future careers.
Seventeen local schools received Green Flags, with others being recognised as Ambassador Schools.
The Eco Schools Green Flag Awards for 2022 have been sponsored by educational supplies and learning resource company, Nexus.
Schools honoured at the Green Flag event included:
Green Flag: Carrick Primary School, Derryhale Primary School, Dromore Central Primary School, Dromore Nursery School, Drumnamoe Nursery School, Fair Hill Primary School, Foley County Primary School, Hamiltonsbawn Primary School, Hardy Memorial Primary School, Hart Memorial Primary School, Lismore Comprehensive School, Our Lady’s Primary School, Railway Street Nursery School, St John the Baptist Primary School, St John the Baptist’s College, St John’s Primary School, St Mary’s Primary School
Ambassador School: Fair Hill Primary School, St John the Baptist’s College, St Francis’ Primary School, Waringstown Primary School.
Best Green Flag Application Lismore Comprehensive School sponsored by NI4Kids.
Biodiversity Champion St John the Baptist’s college was recognised as ‘Biodiversity Champion’, sponsored by Radius Housing
‘Eco Teacher of the Year’ prize, sponsored by Twinkl was won by Olivia Smith, Lismore Comprehensive School.
Charlene McKeown who manages the international Eco-Schools programme in Northern Ireland on behalf of environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said, “The Eco-Schools team have been really impressed by the quality of applications from schools in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon.
"Schools have had a difficult time during the pandemic but teachers and eco co-ordinators at so many schools have worked very hard to build our Green Flag ‘seven steps’ approach back into the daily lives of their pupils. We’ve been providing extra support through our new network of field officers and are delighted to see that approach being wholeheartedly embraced by schools.
"I’d like to thank all of our sponsors for helping us to continue to grow the Eco-Schools programme and investing in the future of our children and our planet."
Lord Mayor, Councillor Paul Greenfield said, “Our local children have worked tremendously hard and are so passionate about the environment.
"It’s wonderful to see their efforts being recognised at today’s special event. Each and every school here today has something to celebrate, whether they’ve received their full green flag or are making good progress towards that goal.
"The way the Eco-Schools programme brings environmental issues right into the heart of the curriculum gives me great hope for the future.
"I’d like to congratulate the children, their teachers and their parents for being such a shining example to us all."
Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said, "We’re so proud of our flagship Eco-Schools programme.
"The opportunity to award schools with their Green Flags is a moment to reflect on how far we’ve come in terms of environmental education but also to say that we absolutely can’t rest on our laurels. The environmental emergency facing our planet is real and Eco-Schools is helping to educate and inform our young people so that they can be part of the change that is urgently needed."