Eco-Schools Northern Ireland hosted a special event to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Eco-Schools programme in March 2015. Over 2000 school pupils, teachers and guests gathered to enjoy speeches, presentations, workshops, exhibits and awards.
The event organised by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, the environmental charity that operates the Eco-Schools Programme in Northern Ireland, was created to thank pupils and teachers for their unwavering dedication and to provide a forum to inspire new ideas.
Northern Ireland Eco-Schools have a number of reasons to celebrate. They were one of the first countries in the world to join the programme, and the first country to award a Green Flag, to Downpatrick Nursery School in 1994. In recent years the programme has been going from strength to strength and in 2015 Eco-Schools Northern Ireland were proud to announce that 100% of their schools are now part of the Eco-Schools programme and working their way towards Green Flag excellence.
Key speakers opened the event: Mark H Durkan, Minister of the Environment; Ian Humphreys, CEO of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful; and Daniel Schaffer, CEO of the Foundation for Environmental Education, all congratulated Northern Ireland Eco-Schools on reaching this landmark moment and encouraged pupils to look to the future and continue to make Northern Ireland and the World a greener, cleaner place.
Eco-Schools were delighted to be joined at the celebration by Daniel Schaffer, CEO of the Foundation for Environmental Education and Bríd Conneely, International Eco-Schools Director. There were also guest Eco-Schools representatives from Scotland and the Republic of Ireland and pupils from the Republic of Ireland Eco-Schools attending.
Northern Ireland are now looking forward to hosting the Eco-Schools National Operators Meeting in November 2015 which will see representatives from FEE and the 59 Eco-Schools countries worldwide come to Northern Ireland to share good practice and discuss the on-going development of Eco-Schools for the benefit of young people and our environment globally. As the host nation Northern Ireland is eager to provide visitors with a rich and welcoming cultural experience and will showcase some of the great work being implemented in Northern Ireland’s schools.