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For the past number of years Sligo Grammar School has had run the Green Schools project in TY. This year is no different and various projects and activities have been ongoing in these areas. In March, in acknowledgement of World Water Day, a group of 25 students spent a morning in Hazelwood accompanied by Green Schools representatives. They walked a 5km loop in Hazelwood with full bottles of water to replicate the journey that millions of women and children make on a daily basis to collect water. The event opened with a speaker from Uisce Éireann, who focused on the importance of conserving water. She outlined the intensive process our drinking water goes through to get to our taps, and highlighted the fact that access to safe drinking water is one of the basic preconditions for success in the fight against poverty, child mortality and even gender inequality in many parts of the world.
March also saw National Tree Week and SGS students were joined by speakers from An Taisce, who spoke about biodiversity and our native woodlands. A representative of Clean Coasts also spoke to students about how we need to be responsible for our coastlines and also mindful of what we wash down our drains. Thanks to Ms Moore for all her work in organising the activities and talks.
Over the last number of years the SGS TY students have had a Sustainable Living module as part of the TY course. This year the module is being taught by Ms McIntyre, who is very knowledgeable when it comes to all things organic and sustainable!
As part of TY and in recognition of the drive towards a more sustainable future, Sligo Grammar School TY programme includes a Sustainable Living/Community Gardening module. Teacher Sandra Tiernan guides the students through the skills associated with planting and growing flowers and vegetables and increasing biodiversity within the school environment. This month the SGS Community Garden students were delighted to start using their fantastic new greenhouse, built by our extremely talented groundsmen, Michael Fadian and Harry Nairn. Located in the Herm garden, Harry and Michael built it from scratch by re-purposing paving from around the old swimming pool area for the floor of the greenhouse and by re-using the perspex sheets which were used as screens around the school during the Covid19 Pandemic. They also installed a water butt to allow the TYs collect rainwater for the plants. This new greenhouse is a wonderful resource for both TY Sus. Living students and Leaving Cert Ag. Science students. It is also a great example of recycling and re-using materials.
SGS BIRD FEEDING PROJECT
In October last Mr Michael Bell of Birdwatch Ireland came to the school to talk to the TY Sustainable Living class. He spoke to them about the richness of Irish wildlife and the many challenges our native birds and animals face. He asked the students if they would be interested in doing a survey of birds that feed in the grounds of Sligo Grammar School. A number of TYs signed up and set up a Bird Feeding Club. Sligo Tidy Towns provided sunflower seeds and lard balls for the project and our very talented maintenance men, Harry Nairn and Michael Fadian designed and made a bird feeding table. The eye-catching feeding table is in the form of a house and is brightly coloured so as not to attract rodents. It has been placed in the courtyard of the school which is quiet and peaceful and will hopefully attract garden birds. It also has the added benefit of being just outside many classrooms so students should enjoy bird-song as they study! Unfortunately due to Lockdown the students have not been able to participate in the Birdwatch Ireland Irish Garden Bird Survey, but hopefully when school returns they will be able to get involved and log SGS bird life. If YOU would like to get involved in the Birdwatch Ireland survey, just visit the website at
This term the Sustainable Living module will focus on the old walled Hermitage Garden, and Ms McIntyre and her band of students will attempt to revitalise this once magical space. The plan is to erect raised beds where pupils will learn to grow their own organically grown vegetables. The Sus. Living students hope to work closely with the Woodwork Dept. who will help in the construction of the raised beds. Currently the woodwork students are designing colourful bird boxes to attract more of our feathered friends into the garden. We are so lucky to have this wonderful walled garden on the school grounds and hopefully it will re-gain some of it’s old magic under the watchful eye of Ms McIntyre and her gardeners!
On Thursday 17th January, the TY Sustainable Living group spent the morning on Strandhill beach picking up litter as part of the Clean Coasts programme. This is a national drive operated by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce. It aims to get local communities involved in the protection of Ireland’s beaches, seas and marine life. The local group organised a clean-up in Strandhill and our TY students eagerly volunteered their services! Seamus McGoldrick of Sligo Surf co-ordinated the clean-up and provided the necessary cleaning equipment. The students found that a lot of litter gets trapped in the crevices in and around the rocks on the beach and it is only when you get down onto the sand and look back towards the shore that it becomes very obvious. The students worked hard for a few hours, managing to gather a lot of rubbish. They even found a Fanta can from June 1994 – World Cup USA!! A special thanks to Mammy Johnstons who provided free ice-cream for the troops!
Various Sustainable Living projects have been set up in recent years for the Transition Year students. Experts in the area of sustainable living have come to talk to students and in response to this the students, with their teachers, have taken on environmental projects of various kinds. Projects include building a leaf mould in the Herm garden and maintaining a compost bin.
The TYs of 2017/18 made an Insect Hotel!
One of the very popular Sustainable Living projects has been centred in the woodwork room. In this workshop, the students created a range of items from salvaged timber. This includes a raised bed and outdoor seat as well as some extra seating for the TY locker area. The students are so proud of their furniture that for the last two years the TYs took their bench with them to the 5th year locker area!
For the past number of years Sligo Grammar School has been involved in the Fields of Life project.
What is Fields of Life?
Fields of Life is a Christian organisation which supports communities in order to enable them help themselves.Sligo Grammar School was involved in the building of a Fields of Life School in Bajja, near Masaka, in Uganda.The school was represented by pupils, staff, parents and past pupils on a trip to paint the school just after it was opened.
Fields of Life Mission Statement:
Fields of Life is committed to sharing the Christian faith by collaborating with local communities and churches in East Africa to bring about positive change through the provision of quality education, clean water, health promotion and other community based projects. It is our vision to see 1,000,000 people in Central East Africa impacted practically with the good news of the gospel by 2015 and to act as an effective Christian response to communities gripped with poverty and suffering.
The art department in the school is a very active and vibrant one. The art room is always a hive of activity with students coming in and out on various projects – art students and non-art students alike!
Ms. Hynes makes a consistent effort to keep the work of her pupils on view throughout the school and has frames around the walls to display their work. This changes a few times a year as the students produce new work. After the Junior Cert results are out the 3D work of the art students is displayed in the hall outside the Staff Room along with work from HE and woodwork students. All parents and families are welcome to drop in to see what their sons and daughters have produced.
In recent years the Sligo Grammar School Art Department and the Emergency Department in Sligo General Hospital have joined forces and some of the work of the students is on display in the ED waiting room. This work is changed twice a year and is a great forum for art students to see their work displayed in public.
For the last four years Sligo Grammar School has entered the National Junk Kouture design Competition. Each year we have had Regional Finalists with a National Finalist in 2015
The competition is a challenge to design and construct an outfit entirely from re-cycled materials. Interested TY students have a Junk Kouture class each week to help them prepare for the competition.