800 primary school students from 20 schools nationwide had the opportunity to learn about climate change during Science Week, thanks to expert volunteers from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
28 EPA volunteers guided students through virtual climate change workshops over the course of Science Week. These workshops were developed by Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI) in conjunction with the EPA and were delivered online as part of an exciting blended learning experience.
Through hands-on activities students analysed their carbon footprint and completed an energy audit of the classroom, allowing them to evaluate the human impact of their class. The students learned that Irish people have amongst the highest greenhouse gas emissions level per person in the developed world.
However, once they understood their impact, the students were then able to brainstorm ways in which they could collectively and individually reduce their impact on climate change.
Gerard O’Leary, EPA Director said:“The EPA is delighted to partner with Junior Achievement Ireland during science week in order to create environmental awareness among primary school children participating in JA programmes in schools around the country. The workshops are fun and an inventive way of engaging with these issues at primary school level.”
The EPA environmental workshop is just one of many opportunities afforded to students thanks to the EPA’s support of JAI since 2016. In that time, 161 volunteers have reached 4,000 young people through Junior Achievement (JA) programmes designed to encourage young people to remain in education and help them to develop the skills they need to succeed in a changing world.
Participating schools were: Scoil Barra Naofa Buachailli, Beaumont, Cork; Scartaglen NS, Killarney, Kerry; Cappabue National School, Bantry, Cork; Scoil Barra, Ballincollig, Cork; Gaelscoil Uí Ríordáin, Ballincollig, Cork; St Brendans NS, Loughshinny, Dublin; Harolds Cross NS, Dublin; St Margarets NS, Dublin; St. Paul’ SNS, Drogheda; St Raphaela’s Primary School, Stillorgan, Dublin; Scoil Chroi Iosa, Galway; Ballyvary NS, Castlebar, Mayo; Ballindine NS, Claremorris, Mayo; St. Brendan’s NS, Kilmeena, Mayo; CBS Primary School, Wexford; Piercestown NS, Drinagh, Co. Wexford; Mercy Primary School, Wexford; Waterpark NS, Waterford and Presentation Primary School, Kilkenny.
Norma Healy, Principal of Cappabue National School, Kilnaknappoge, Co. Cork, commented on her school’s experience: “Our students thoroughly enjoyed the EPA environmental workshop, the content showed how the students could have a positive impact on the world around them in a fun and accessible manner. We are very passionate about Climate Change in Cappabue National School and we are delighted to have our climate change song included in the workshops. The virtual format worked really well and the level of engagement with the topic and our expert volunteer from the EPA was fantastic.”
Helen Raftery, CEO of JAI, said: “The educational value of students working with role models and getting the chance to learn from them is well-established. Thanks to the EPA, 800 students had an exciting opportunity to experience environmental issues brought to life in a real and meaningful way. We are grateful to both our partner schools and the 28 EPA volunteers that helped us to communicate these important messages to young people all over the country.”