Scoil Phádraig were awarded with our 5th Green Flag in 2018 on the theme of Biodiversity. Ms. Lennon and three students from the Green Schools Committee traveled to an award ceremony in City North Hotel on Thursday 17th May. They were joined with other schools from Monaghan and Louth who also received their relevant flags. Well done to all the staff and students from Scoil Phádraig for their continuous efforts in caring for our environment.

We gathered together to raise our five green flags on 15th June 2018. Ms. Clarke thanked the members of the board of management and the Parents’ Association who were in attendance. She also thanked the Green Schools Committee and the staff of Scoil Phádraig for their continued hard work and dedication to the programme. The day ended with a fantastic surprise when the ice-cream van entered the school gates. The sound of excited children could be heard for miles around! It was a fantastic day and one that will be remembered for many years to come.

What is Biodiversity?

The following is taken from the Green Schools Ireland website and explains what Biodiversity is, and, what our aims are when undertaking work for this flag.

“Biodiversity is the huge variety and variation of life that surrounds us. Biodiversity is essential in keeping the environment healthy and fit for human life. Not only do we rely on biodiversity but our activities also have an effect on it. So whether your school is based in a city or in the country the Biodiversity theme hopes to connect you, your school and your wider community with the natural environment and cultivate a sense of wonder, appreciation and value for all the biodiversity around us.

Here is a copy of our Biodiversity Action Plan

For more information regarding this flag click here.

Our Sensory Garden

In 2015 we created a courtyard sensory garden. A sensory garden is a wonderful way for children to explore their senses and learn about the environment around them. Children with disabilities also greatly benefit from exposure to sensory gardens, as they provide a therapeutic and safe way for them to explore their senses. We chose plants and flowers that have interesting colours and smells, in order to make the environment more attractive and appealing. We also erected seating in the courtyard to accommodate a large group. We hung some chimes and solar light to stimulate the senses. We also erected a water feature and some courtyard signs to brighten the whole area. The staff and pupils enjoy using this area for picnics and relaxation activities.

Our Biodiversity Green Code

Biodiversity is so cool,

We are learning about it in our school.

Plants and animals everywhere,

Protect them all and show you care.

Don’t let any species become extinct,

In this world we are all linked.

So plant a tree or grow a flower,

Let’s give ‘Mother Earth’ back her power!!

Reduce Reuse Recycle

What a clever way to recycle old tyres!  Which planter is your favourite?

Nature Trail

It has been very exciting creating new habitats on our school grounds. Visit Scoil Phádraig to take part in our ‘Biodiversity Trail Challenge’. Be on the look out for the following items in and around our school!!

Wildlife Habitats in Scoil Phádraig

Mini beast Hunt

Junior and Senior Infants were on the hunt for insects and other mini beasts today. They used their pooters, magnifying glasses and jars to collect them for examination. They looked in the garden, under rocks and stones, inside our bug hotels and they even searched the hedges and bushes. They found, worms, ants, slugs, centipedes, spiders, flies and woodlouse! All mini beasts were returned safely to their natural habitats after being carefully examined!

Our Butterfly farm

Ms. Mc Caffrey’s class were busy nurturing their caterpillars and patiently watching them develop into beautiful butterflies.  They were very excited to set them free into our garden when the flowers had blossomed.

Busy Bees in the garden

See the rainbow? Taste the rainbow!

Art Displays

Scoil Phádraig pupils are very creative!! Take a look at their biodiversity art displays to date.

Art Project

5th and 6th class students were very busy designing signs for our biodiversity habitats. Some students also made wooden bird boxes which Vincent erected in different areas of the school grounds. Don’t they look fab!?

Biodiversity Workshop with Mark

Senior classes took part in a Biodiversity workshop which was led by Mark Nolan who is an environmental scientist. They learned about the importance to cultivating and nurturing ecosystems in the local area. They had the opportunity to plant sunflowers and learn about a bee habitat. It was thoroughly enjoyable and informative. Take a look…

Biodiversity Workshop with Dale

All classes met with Dale Treadwell who is an expert in all things natural. Dale brings great enthusiasm to his workshops and you may have seen him on ‘The Den’ and ‘Albie the Why Guy’ and other educational children’s programmes on RTE and TV3. He brought along his mechanised puppet dinosaur ‘Benjo’ which captivated the children’s attention. He planted shrubs and wild flowers seed bombs with junior classes and they also took part in a mini-beast hunt. They watched videos, listened to stories (which Dale wrote and published himself) and learned all about bats, hedgehogs and other Irish mammals. He brought senior classes on a nature trail where they identified and mapped every species of tree, shrub, flower and invertebrated animal on the school grounds. They also created a bug hotel and a leaf pile to attract mini-beasts into our garden, which will hopefully in time attract some friendly garden birds!! What a busy day for all. Visit Dale’s website Naturally Wild

Ian Patterson’s Wild Bird Workshop

Ian is a wild Bird expert and trainer and he visited our school on 19th February 2018.  He brought a number of fascinating, native birds of prey in to the class for the children to meet, including a barn owl, a buzzard, a kestrel, a peregrine and a wood owl.   He outlined the importance of bird conservation and his role as an eco system service. Some of the pupils and staff got to fly the birds which was a unique experience.  Ian  explained the concept of flight and how man has used these birds to design aircraft.

Interesting Biodiversity Facts

  • Although over time it has increased, biodiversity has steadily gone down in the past 35 years.
  • The current declining of biodiversity is comparable to the massive extinction of many animals over 65 million years ago.
  • Coral reefs have the most diversity of all ecosystems on Earth.
  • On land, areas near the equator tend to be more diverse because of the pleasant climate.
  • Biodiversity is very important to an ecosystem because each species plays a different role in the maintenance of the ecosystem.
  • Disasters tend to ruin an ecosystem but if biodiversity is high, the ecosystem will be able to recover quickly.
  • Preserving a species and its habitat is one way to ensure an increase in biodiversity.
  • The increase in global warming is a huge factor that decreases biodiversity by destroying habitats of certain organisms.
  • Changes in ocean temperature, length of seasons, and amount of precipitation are all factors that affect the level of biodiversity.
  • Planting certain types of trees outside your home or school is one way to combat the decrease in biodiversity because it helps control climate.
  • A biodiversity hotspot is an area that contains organisms (both plants and animals) that do not live in any other part of the world.
  • Madagascar is an example of a biodiversity hotspot because roughly 98% of its living organisms cannot survive anywhere else on Earth.
  • Although many governments around the world have passed laws to ensure biodiversity, there are over 300 extremely endangered species that have no laws to protect them.
  • Pollution and the introduction of foreign species are other factors that contribute to the decrease in biodiversity by hindering the proper development of ecosystems.
  • About .1% of species are lost each year.