The members of the Environmental and Emergency services SPC of Mayo County Council welcomed the continued growth of the green schools project in Mayo following a presentation they received this week. Eva Gannon, an education officer with An Taisce, outlined the new green schools travel programme that is currently being rolled out through Mayo.
Over 152 schools in Mayo have registered for the green schools programme and 91 of them have been awarded green flags for litter and waste, energy and water conservation. The latest string to this bow is the green schools travel programme which schools can sign up for.
The programme was launched on a trial basis in the Dublin area over the last three years and was rolled out nationally with Scoil Raifteiri, Castlebar launching the project in the county and another 20 schools being invited to sign up to the challenge. The project aims to see children use alternative means of transport to school, rather than just getting dropped off at the gate. The project encourages children to walk and cycle to school, to use public transport where available and to car pool on their journey. Scoil Raifteiri has also initiated a park ‘n’ stride programme where they have established four areas for children to be dropped off and to walk the rest of the way to school. Other initiatives planned for this project include ‘Walk on Wednesdays’, cycle trains, cycling training and education.
Chairperson of the SPC Margaret Adams told the meeting, “It’s great to see this kind of initiative being taken up by so many schools in the county.” She also wished Ms Gannon well in her post as an education officer with An Taisce. Fine Gael Cllr Johnny O’Malley also welcomed the presentation, telling the meeting: “Children should be encouraged to walk to school more and this is a good initiative. One thing that will have to be got over is parents’ fears for the safety of their children on the roads though, but the more promotion this gets and the more aware people are of it, it should make them more aware that children could be out walking on the road in the morning and the evening.”