A total of 17 Westmeath schoolchildren have won an ecology workshop for their schools after entering a poster competition held during February.
The winners were announced this week in the ‘Environment Aware’ poster competition co-sponsored by the county council and the Department of the Environment.
Each winner will have his or her picture published in a special calendar for next year’s academic year, which will be distributed across Westmeath’s 79 primary schools, and will also be presented with a €25 shopping voucher at a special awards ceremony in the County Buildings in Mullingar in June.
“The imagination, design, colour, and skill was overwhelming, ” said Ruth Maxwell, from the council’s Environment Department.
The most successful of the 14 winning schools were Presentation Convent, Mullingar (Katie Rock and Francisca Owolabi ); Milltown NS (Katie Ahern and Sophie Hayes ); and Moyvore NS (Shauna Maguire and Jade Holmes Collins ), who all had two winners each.
The other winners were spread countywide, from Coosan to Fore, with the only secondary school winner - Mary Doyle - attending Castlepollard Community College.
The competition gave national and secondary schools the chance to win the ecological workshops or the ‘Living Larder Vertical Veggie Patch’ for their school.
“The idea of this is that if you’re tight on space, you can still manage vegetables and a herb garden with a water butt,” explained Ruth.
Dale Treadwell, an ecologist and naturalist with the new RTÉ Junior channel will visit each of the 10 schools that won to give an ecology workshop over the coming months.
Continuing the good work from last year, winners of the entire competition all their posters featured in the academic calendar.
The winner of the ‘Living Larder Vertical Veggie Patch’ for the second year in a row is St Marys NS, Gracepark Road, Athlone thanks to the artistic endeavours of Kaitlin Warby from 5th class.
Ruth also wanted to point out that schools who won in this competition, or those who were disappointed at missing out, could still enter the ‘Pride of Place’ eco-friendly schools competition for 2013 which was won last year by Ballinagore NS and Moyvore NS.
Entries are still being accepted for this up to April 30 and, as part of the Cathaoirleach’s Awards, the winners will have the special honour of being presented with their prize by Úchtaráin na hÉireann, Michael D. Higgins at a ceremony in the County Buildings on June 22.