Presentation Secondary School Sexton Street Limerick Win Young Environmentalist Award

On the 12th May, 2010, first year students, from the Presentation Secondary School, Limerick, were awarded by EcoUnesco, the Young Environmental Award in Environmental Sustainability. They were the only school in Limerick city and county, to be shortlisted for this national competition. The Presentation students, who called their project ‘The Green Buddies’ along with 50 other shortlisted schools, attended the Mansion House in Dublin, last Wednesday.













The project started back in October, when their teacher, Helen Ahern, approached the students and asked if they would be interested in entering the Young Environmental Awards. After expressing an interest in gardening, the project got underway. Neither their teacher, nor the students had any experience in horticulture. The first step was to install a poly-tunnel in the school grounds (thanks to our school care-takers) which grew mainly herbs and some daffodils initially.

These daffodils were later given to St. Josephs Hospital by the students. Mr. Jake Daly helped the students install a water butt and this was then used to water plants. This showed the students the benefits of water conservation in an organic context. A composter was also installed and the students now compost waste from the Home Economics classes.

By March, the poly tunnel proved to be a great success. The students grew the following: runner beans, cabbage, lettuce, strawberries, parsley, onions, sunflowers, chives, leeks, sweet pea etc. When some plants ripened, they were then sold to teachers and parents and the proceeds are now re-invested into future gardening projects.

Besides the poly-tunnel, the students wished to renovate the school grotto. The students worked hard for five days, clearing weeds and they prepared the soil for planting. They put in flowers, ferns and heathers and finished off their excellent work by planting two weeping birch trees. The end result was much admired by the visitors to the school and by the judges at the awards ceremony.

Their teacher, Miss Ahern, spoke of the delight with their win. “These girls worked very hard on this project, and developed a genuine interest in horticulture. The fact they were one of only ten school categories to receive an award in Ireland is testament to that. When they visited Seed Savers in Scarrif last month, their teacher was particularly touched by one student’s remark, “Miss, if you asked me a year ago where food came from, I would have said a supermarket, now I know it comes from the ground”.

Members of Green Buddies: Denika Doyle, Rebecca Ahern, Amanda O’Reilly, Laura-Lee Daly, Sandra Ikeh, Naima Ghabyou and Chantelle Styles.

This was the first time the school entered this competition.150 schools took part and the award that Presentation Sexton Street won was one of four overall winners.

Thanks to the many teachers who were involved in this project.