09 Aug Green Flag
The Dundalk Grammar School Green Schools Committee has over the past two years been working on their application for the school’s fourth Green Flag – the Travel Flag. The programme put together involved raising awareness for the many issues linked with travel and the modes of transoprt we use, in particular when going to and coming from school.
Cycling or walking to school has obvious health benefits for students, the committee therefore did a ‘Walkability Audit’ to assess the safety of the pavements and road areas in the immediate vicinity of the school so as to identify any potential hazards for cyclists or pedestrians approaching the school. We sent a letter to Dundalk Town Council outlining some of our findings and making some suggestions and requests which we felt would increase the safety for students who choose the ‘Healthy Option’ when travelling to school.
Traffic conjestion around the school is a major concern both from an environmental point of view and from the point of view of road safety. As our school has a very broad catchment area motorised transport is the only option for many of our students. The Green Schools Committee promotes the use of the more sustainable modes of transport such as the bus or train where possible. However, where the use of bus or train is not possible students are encouraged to car-pool. Our ‘Plunge into the Car-Pool’ initiative was launched on Open Day with this aim. ‘Park and Stride’, where students travel by car but get left off at a walkable distance from the school is also an option which is encouraged within our Travel Flag Programme.
The committee is very appreciative of all the help and support offered by so many of our teachers in the course of compiling our Travel Flag Programme. Our Actions for this flag included sponsored walks, environmental workshops on the theme of travel, transport surveys, wall displays, and poster and slogan comptitions, much of which we could not have done on our own. The committee also received great support from the Parents Association both in the form of prizes for our poster and slogan competition and in publicising our various actions and initiatives in the Parents Association newsletter.
We submitted our completed application for our Green Flag renewal to An Taisce in March 2011, our assessment was carried out shortly afterwards and at the end of April we received the good news that An Taisce’s Green Schools Evaluation Committee was ‘extremely impressed with our programme and had no hesitation in making their decision’ to renew our International Green Flag Award. Our next Green Flag is on the theme of Biodiversity and we look forward to working on all the challenges that this will present.