The Board of Cork Environmental Forum (CEF) has chosen to recognise the outstanding work of Kinsale Community School at the Cork Environmental Forum Awards with their annual Public Sector Environmental Award. This award is in recognition of phenomenal work undertaken by Kinsale Community School to support the environment and sustainability and for integrating education for sustainable development into the school curriculum. A celebration of their achievement took place virtually last week and the school was presented with a beautiful sculpture by Kevin Casey.
Kinsale Community School is on an exciting path to create and embed an ethos of sustainability in all aspects of school life. Students, staff and management have taken huge steps in recent years to reduce the school’s environmental impact and its overall carbon footprint. Sustainable development themes are now part and parcel of every subject right across the curriculum.
Speaking about receiving this award, Fergal McCarthy, Principal said, “It is a great privilege for Kinsale Community School to be in receipt of the very prestigious Cork Environmental Forum Award in recognition of our initiatives which are targeted to support our environment and to create an even greater awareness of the challenges relating to climate change, bio-diversity and global citizenship. We have sought to integrate the principles of sustainability into our curriculum through the mapping of the Sustainable Development Goals to Learning Outcomes as envisioned by the reformed Junior Cycle. Our success has been achieved through a whole school community approach, so this award is in recognition of the contribution of every single member of our school community”
This award is in recognition of the dedication and work at Kinsale Community School in showing care for the environment. There are numerous extra-curricular activities and projects taking place: the school received its first Green Flag Award this year on the topic of waste driven by the ever diligent Green Team; solar panels have been installed on the roof, which feed into the electricity grid; rainwater is harvested from the roof to be used in the toilets; wildflower areas are planted to attract pollinators and increase biodiversity; a newly built greenhouse will be used for growing organic food; water fountains have been installed to encourage refilling of water bottles and to reduce single use plastics; paper use was reduced by approximately 34% between 2020 and 2021; Art students created a large wave made from plastic bottles with the slogan ‘Wave goodbye to plastic’ to encourage students to go ‘reusable’; a number of 5th year students reached the Grand Final of the Junk Kouture competition.
Kinsale Community School also has no less than seven entries to the BT Young Scientist Competition that are on themes related to sustainability from fast fashion to the environmental impact of diets. Around every corner you see posters with messages raising awareness about sustainability issues; in every other classroom there are groups of students working on projects exploring solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss and the staff have embraced the challenge with enthusiasm, exploring and sharing their skills, knowledge, and expertise. To further promote Sustainability, Kinsale Community School has a newly appointed ‘Sustainability Chaplain’ who is teaching Eco-Unesco’s Youth for Sustainable Development to Transition Year students.
‘Kinsale Community School is to be congratulated on winning Cork Environmental Forum’s annual award for the Public Sector and it is well deserved. Since I arrived here as ‘Sustainability Chaplain’ three months ago, I have been hugely impressed and inspired by what the school has already achieved in terms of reducing its environmental impact and improving its sustainability. For me it is an absolute privilege and pleasure to be involved in contributing to this ongoing work, seeing students become empowered, active global citizens” said Klaus Harvey, Sustainability Chaplain at Kinsale Community School.
The Annual Cork Environmental Forum Awards Ceremony was an evening that reflected great commitment and hard work to create a better environment across all sectors of society. Cork Environmental Forum is about promoting the Sustainable Development Goals and fostering and implementing sustainable development in the Cork region. Their annual awards recognise the dedication and work of organisations and individuals across Cork that are showing care for the environment.