Mount Mercy College Green Schools Team Achieves 5th Green Flag

Mount Mercy College Green Schools Committee: staff and students weeding and setting new seeds in our wildflower patch, May 2017. Back row L-R: Ms Loftus, Katie Reynolds (P.R.O.), Rebecca O Connor (Chairperson), Ms Cotter, Vika Kharoshankaya, Sophia O Sullivan (Secretary), Ms Fitzgerald. Front row L-R: Dia Harry Thomas (Co-chairperson), Theresa Rose Sebastian, Noirín Rahilly, Zara Dhamad, Benita John, Ama Kurupchu, Elana Hawe Levy (P.R.O.), Sara Ann Biju, Ms Murphy

 

Mount Mercy College was delighted to achieve its 5th Green Flag on the theme of biodiversity at the National Green Flag Awards Ceremony on Friday 12th May in the Radison Blu Hotel in Little Island. Accompanied by teachers Ms Fitzgerald and Ms Loftus, 6th Year students and Green Schools Committee members Katie Reynolds and Rebecca O Connor represented Mount Mercy and received the flag on behalf of all the Green Schools Committee members. Our Green Schools committee worked very hard over the past two years to achieve the 5th green flag and congratulations to all involved on this wonderful achievement.

Green Flag Awards Ceremony 12th May 2017: Leaving Cert students Katie Reynolds & Rebecca O Connor seeing and discussing things from a ‘green’ perspective 

Receiving our 5th Green Flag: L-R: Ms Fitzgerald, Rebecca O Connor, Katie Reynolds, Ms Loftus, Mr Sean Hartigan (An Taisce)

Our Wildflower Patch: Update

The Mount Mercy Green Schools Committee was busy in May weeding our wildflower patch and setting new seeds. The maintenance of native wildflowers is very important for our environment as they attract bees, insects and birds, whilst also creating an attractive visual display.

Well done to our Green Schools Team on the achievement of Green Flag Number 5

Biodiversity Habitat Walk at Mount Mercy

Green Schools Announcement

In February 2017 the Mount Mercy Green Schools Team conducted a habitat walk throughout our school grounds. The team charted and noted the variety of species and life forms currently thriving in our school environment on a habitat map. Observing the flora and fauna within our immediate environment proved to be an interesting and eye-opening experience. It further draws attention to the need to always support and protect the nature around us, just as it protects us.

Green Schools Team, Spring Habitat Walk. Green Schools committee members – students and teachers. Teachers far left Mr O Sullivan, Ms Loftus & far right: Ms Fitzgerald & Ms Cotter.

Mount Mercy is home to a great variety of trees, shrubs, flowers and wildlife, both native and non-native. Native species we observed included oak, ash, beech and hawthorn trees, the red robin shrub, heathers and ivy. Native wildlife including a variety of birds such as robins, wagtails and crows, insects, spiders, rabbits and a fox are to be seen within our school grounds. Our native Irish wildflower patch contains ox-eye daisies, corn poppies, cornflowers and corn marigolds which should bloom once more in the summer months, as well as 2 bug hotels which presented cobwebs and therefore evidence of life.

Trees, shrubs, plants and flowers are carefully tended at Mount Mercy. Hanging baskets and potted plants also thrive here. A visually attractive and well maintained natural environment works in tandem with Mount Mercy College’s supportive approach to the protection and encouragement of biodiversity.

An increased awareness of biodiversity has been raised within Mount Mercy through various means including poster campaigns, whole school announcements, information sessions and cross-curricular activity. We understand that biodiversity is important for all human wellbeing. Supporting biodiversity protects clean air and water, fertile soil, bountiful seas and a safe climate. Some practical suggestions for you to support biodiversity include:
– continue to walk or cycle to school instead of travelling by car
– continue to conserve energy at home and at school
– reduce use of pesticides on your lawn
– plant native Irish wildflowers in your garden
– reduce, reuse and recycle
– composting
– buy organic food
– use environmentally friendly cleaning products

Mount Mercy supports, protects and encourages biodiversity because there is no Planet B!

Green Schools Biodiversity Flag 5: Wildflowers Update

In our Green Schools article last June, we showed the initial phases of choosing a suitable wildflower seedbed in our school grounds and the process of planting the native Irish wildflower seeds. To view images showing these initial steps please view the article by clicking on the link below:

Biodiversity for our 5th Green Flag

These seeds subsequently blossomed into lovely flowers suitable for attracting bees, insects and birds. Hence biodiversity was fully supported, whilst also creating an attractive visual display. It is important to plant native plant species as many species of wildlife in our natural environment benefit as a result. Have a look:

Wildflowers bloom at Mount Mercy

Wildflowers bloom at Mount Mercy

Biodiversity for our 5th Green Flag

Green Schools Announcement

Herbs grown by 1st Year Home Economics students in class at Mount Mercy.

Mount Mercy has completed the first year of a two-year Green Schools programme as we aim to achieve our 5th Green Flag. Biodiversity is the theme of this 5th flag.

Mini beast hotel attached to tree in grounds of Mount Mercy College by Green Schools Committee

Mini beast hotel attached to tree in grounds of Mount Mercy College by Green Schools Committee

What is biodiversity?
‘Biodiversity is the variation of living organisms from all sources, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and all the habitats of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems. Imagine life without all this diversity! Life on earth would cease to exist!’ – quoted from http://www.greenschoolsireland.org/

Planting wild flowers at Mount Mercy. Members of the Green Schools Committee L-R: Sara Ann Biju, Ms Cotter, Dia Harry Thomas, Ama Kuruooe Arachchi

Planting wild flowers at Mount Mercy. Members of the Green Schools Committee L-R: Sara Ann Biju, Ms Cotter, Dia Harry Thomas, Ama Kuruppu Arachchi, Mr O’ Sullivan. 

To date, the Green Schools Committee at Mount Mercy has completed an initial survey of 1st, 2nd and 5th year classes to examine student understanding of biodiversity and its environmental impact. The committee has also identified a bio-diverse area in the school grounds and has planted native Irish wild flowers there as well as attaching two insect hotels to trees in the zone to encourage biodiversity. 1st year Home Economics students grew herbs in class and brought them home to eat, so lets hope our students are gardening over the Summer!

Green Schools Committee members display their green fingers! Pictured planting wild flowers with Ms Fitzgerald.

Green Schools Committee members Sara Ann, Dia and Ama display their green fingers! Pictured planting wild flowers with Ms Fitzgerald.

Biodiverse activity: Mini beast hotels attached to trees and site of newly planted wild flowers at Mount Mercy.

Mini beast hotels attached to trees & site of newly planted wild flower seed bed at Mount Mercy.

Mini beast hotels pictured with

Mini beast hotels pictured with L-R: Ama, Dia, Ms Cotter and Sara Ann. 

The committee and the entire school community strive to maintain the four Green Flags achieved to date on the themes of Litter & Waste, Energy, Water and Travel. On the 18th May 2016, Mount Mercy took part in a national WOW day, which aimed for the participation of 20,000 students nationally. Well done to all who participated in attempting to either walk or use an alternative environmentally sustainable method of transport on that day. Our final survey figures show that approximately 14% of our MMC student population used park and stride and 7% walked to school on the day.

In Year 2 Green Schools at Mount Mercy plans to further raise awareness on the theme of Biodiversity and to continue to engage in and promote bio- diverse activity. Each of us can play a vital role in the protection and encouragement of biodiversity, not only within our school community but also in the wider community.

Some facts for you to consider:

“One of every three bites of food eaten worldwide depends on pollinators, especially bees, for a successful harvest”. (‘Declining bee populations pose a threat to global agriculture’, Environment 360, April 2013)

“Wherever you live in Ireland, you should be able to attract at least 5 different bumblebee species to keep you company in your garden in summer.” (Quoted from website:  www.biodiversity.ie  – please visit the site for ideas on how to do this).

“Wildflower species are worth preserving in their own right. But they also provide food for insects, birds and mammals – for example, wildflowers support pollinators, including bees, whose decline has been well documented in recent years. Wildflower planting schemes therefore provide an excellent way to support biodiversity while also creating a visually attractive flower display.” (www.ecocongregationireland.com)

“Biodiversity contributes to many aspects of human well-being, for instance by providing raw materials and contributing to health. …. (but) human actions often lead to irreversible losses in terms of diversity on Earth and these losses have been more rapid in the past 50 years than ever before in human history”. (www.greenfacts.org)

 

 

Mount Mercy achieves 4th Green Flag

Green Schools Announcement

Just as this newsletter goes to print we have heard very good news from An Taisce that Mount Mercy College has been awarded The Travel Flag!image image

 

On behalf of the Green Schools Committee, I would like to thank the school community for their dedication and hard work over the past two years in helping us to achieve this, our fourth Green Flag.
Over the course of the last two years the Green Schools Committee successfully raised awareness of the importance of traveling to school using sustainable modes. Small steps like this can ultimately achieve a lot in reducing our carbon footprint and making our environment a healthier place for us all.
The Travel Flag is a great achievement as we are one of just a small number of secondary schools in Ireland to receive this flag. We hope this dedication and hard work will continue over the coming years.

Well done and a big thank you,

Arisha Muhammed
Chairperson, Green Schools Committee

 

We are aiming for our Fourth Green Flag

imageWell done to our Green Schools Committee for raising awareness and to our student community who are showing a fantastic level of participation in our WOW days! ‘WOW’ stands for  ‘Walk on Wednesday’. On certain designated Wednesdays, we ask all members of our school community to walk, cycle, carpool, park and stride, take the bus or use any method of environmentally sustainable transport to travel to school. Thanks to the great efforts made by our students, despite often poor weather conditions, we are seeing a 15% reduction in car use on these days, with a connected increase in park and stride and carpooling.

The focus of the fourth green flag is on sustainable transport. We aim to reduce carbon emissions through the promotion of sustainable transport such as walking and cycling. The support and participation of our entire school community is vital in the attainment of this flag. Whilst the attainment of the flag is a huge motivator, let us not forget the serious issues at hand here.

The fifth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has recently been published. This report took years to create and involved hundreds of scientists. It reports with 95% certainty that humans are responsible for global warming. No country is immune to climate change. We each have a role to play and a responsibility towards caring for our immediate environment, our country and ultimately our planet. ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ Let’s make our steps count, because there is no Planet B!

Clink on this link to read recent reports on climate change:
http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/1102/656351-climate/