Perhaps the highest profile amongst all their activities is the all-Ireland Young Environmentalist Award. Each year, schools throughout Ireland develop projects designed to benefit the environment directly, or to raise societal awareness regarding pressing environmental concerns. These are entered into competition against other schools—in various categories such as Biodiversity, Art & Design, Waste, as well as overall Junior and Senior winners—and the shortlisted entrants then invited to showcase their work at a large-scale event. Finally, a panel of judges awards the most innovative and impressive entrants in each category.
Baglady herself attended the showcase and award ceremony back in 2010; in fact, one award was named after her! This year, Baglady Productions were fortunate enough to attend once again. We were absolutely overwhelmed by what we saw. The sheer number of high-quality entries was dizzying (almost, if not all, or the counties of Ireland were represented). The venue was bursting with stands, which were themselves barely able to contain each school’s materials: blueprints, posters, models, video presentations, photographs, and notably, one huge shark made from tin cans. The young people were eager to talk us through their projects, showing just how much love and care had gone into each. Indeed, the enthusiasm, industriousness, know-how, professionalism and innovation on display would put most adults to shame.
We would love to tell you about each and every one of the pieces on display, but will have to make do with just a few highlights.
Pupils from Avondale Community College, Wicklow (above) had a hunch that we—especially kids—still waste too much water by leaving taps running; a survey confirmed that others agreed, so they decided to do something about it. The outcome was the brilliant Water Sentinel, a device connected to taps to alert the user that they’ve left it running. Listen to them talk about it here:
Whitechurch National School in Cork wanted to waste less in their own school while lending a hand to children in developing countries, sending old school uniforms on to a second life in Belarus, collecting and selling unused clothes to fund an Indian school, and sending buttons to a tailoring school in Varanasi. Hear all about it here:
St Brigid’s National School, Greystones (above), split into sub-groups to address different issues, including renewable energy, water usage and composting, as well as conducting a survey on pupils’ environmental awareness and organising a community clean up. They then presented their work back to the rest of the school. They aren’t done yet, and are organising a beach clean. Listen to a few words from them here:
Pupils from Ulidia Integrated College in Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim (above), decided that increased recycling simply wasn’t enough: they wanted ‘zero waste to landfill’. To do so they catalogued precisely just what was being recycled, and what was going to general waste, and spread they word throughout the school, and in the local press.
You can see a list of all the shortlisted entrants and winners here.
Anyone attending this even couldn’t help but leave encouraged that while the future remains uncertain, we can be optimistic that there are many compassionate, intelligent and committed young minds ready to take up its challenges. Here’s what the VIP guest, none other than President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins (above), had to say on just that:
Our sincere thanks to ECO-ENESCO for the invitation to attend, and to the young people in attendance for their remarkable ideas and inspirational attitudes.