26 November 2015
By Tom Collins
St. Colman’s Community College, Midleton named ‘School of the Year’ at Prestigious 2015 Clean Coasts Ocean Hero Awards
To date students from St. Colman’s Community College in Midleton have removed more than 12 tonnes of marine litter from beaches, waterways and rivers across the East Cork area. In recognition of this outstanding achievement, St. Colman’s Community College was named ‘School of the Year’ by An Taisce at the prestigious 2015 Clean Coasts Ocean Hero Awards – beating over 3,700 primary and secondary schools to take home the award.
“The students of St. Colman’s have been key to the removal of several tonnes of marine litter in the East Cork area, particularly near Ballycotton where they have been dealing with the ongoing issue of fly tipping. They have shown a keen interest in protecting their local beaches and promoting environmental issues in their school and throughout the local community. This has been achieved through awareness raising projects and a website they have put together documenting their action,” said Olivia Crossan, Clean Coasts Programme, An Taisce.
“I would like to congratulate the students and staff of St. Colman’s Community College on this tremendous achievement; the Clean Coasts Ocean Hero ‘School of the Year’ Award is a real acknowledgement of the school’s hard work and dedication shown to this project,” said Ted Owens, Chief Executive, Cork Education and Training Board.
“The Ocean Hero Awards are all about celebrating coastal custodians and inspiring others to join the movement for litter-free seas. St. Colman’s students are wonderful Clean Coast ambassadors and will no doubt inspire more schools to get involved in the movement,” added Olivia Crossan.
More than 870 students from the St. Colman’s school are involved in the initiative, in particular students from 2nd year. Students focused on Ballynamona Beach and the Wetlands Complex in the East Cork and documented their progress, and items recovered, on their website www.ballynamona.eu.
“We are absolutely delighted with this award, it is so important to educate our young people about the importance of protecting the local environment. An Taisce’s Clean Coasts programme is a fantastic way of educating schools and communities. The ‘Think Before You Flush’ programme in particular highlights the problem sanitary products and other items can cause in our marine environment and our wastewater systems if they are flushed down the toilet. Our students witnessed first-hand the harmful effect these products can have on the environment if flushed,” said Proinsias Ó Tuama, Teacher, St. Colman’s Community College.
“The students particularly enjoyed documenting the ‘retro rubbish’ that they found, including 7up bottles from the early 70’s and crisp packets from 2000. Our students are enhancing the value of the coastline by reducing the impact of litter and other environmental damage through this project and we are very proud of their work,” he added.
Follow the work of St. Colman’s students on www.ballynamona.eu