Eco-Schools event held in Newry

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Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
Eco-schools from across Northern Ireland gathered in Newry this month to celebrate their achievements. The event, sponsored by Newry and Mourne District Council and supported by the Department of the Environment, attracted over 500 people, all of whom took part in workshops and other activities. Those in attendance also honoured the 800th school to join the Eco-Schools programme by presenting them with an award. The programme aims to make environmental awareness and action an integral part of school life and also wants schools to help pupils become more responsible and committed to environmental awareness both at home and in the wider community. Speaking at the event, Newry & Mourne Mayor Charlie Casey said, “I am delighted to welcome pupils and teachers from schools across the North to Newry City to celebrate all that is good about the Eco-Schools programme. Newry and Mourne District Council is committed to promoting Eco-Schools and see it as an excellent programme to encourage our young people to take responsibility for protecting their environment.” “I was recently privileged to host a reception for six local schools who achieved their green flags and I heard at first hand the value of Eco-Schools in instilling in our young people a love of the environment. I wish the programme continued success and congratulate all who have achieved the bronze, silver and green flag awards. I would also encourage those schools who have not embraced Eco-Schools yet to consider starting an eco-club where they can begin to help make a difference to our environment,” said Mayor Casey.

Environmental Minister Alex Attwood also commented on the programme, “It is a pleasure to be able to open this year’s Eco-Schools celebration and see the guardians of our planet present and future, displaying such a wealth of creativity and responsibility towards environmental issues. My Department has been funding the programme for a number of years and this year have provided over £100,000 to this long-term programme that introduces students, teachers, parents and the wider community to the concept of an environmental management system.” The Minister continued, “School children need to understand that there is an economic value to the environment, be it through saving money in school or at home through reducing the amount of paper or energy that we use, or more widely through encouraging income from tourism due to the wonderful natural landscape and built heritage that we enjoy here in Northern Ireland.”
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