The awards celebrate and recognise the efforts made by schools, whose dedication and commitment to the Eco-Schools Programme is making a difference to their school and local community.
This year’s awards also introduced a new Family Poster Competition which encouraged pupils to investigate what they do at home to save energy and highlight their top energy saving tips.
Opening the awards ceremony, Mark H Durkan said: “These awards are an important and fitting recognition of the efforts of our young people, teachers and also their wider families in looking after our environment and saving energy.
“Whenever I visit Eco-Schools I see the passion, pride and potential of the people who will be the next generation of leaders and workers in all walks of life. I take great pride in being here today to recognise these achievements. All entrants should be very proud of your work. Seeing the energy and enthusiasm displayed by all of you, and the other Eco-Schools, gives me tremendous hope for the future of our environment.”
The awards were open to all Eco-Schools in the North which means, as this is the first region in the world to achieve 100% participation in the programme, that all schools were eligible. Award categories included Eco-Committee of the Year and Operation Energy Project of the Year. Over 30 schools submitted applications in these categories.
Winners in the school categories received renewable energy education sets and £100 worth of energy goodies while the winning entry in the Family Energy Champions Poster category received £100 worth of energy saving goodies for the home and a family voucher for a day out to a local attraction. All runners up received energy related goodies for their school or homes.
All of the short-listed entries were given the opportunity to visit the nearby Slieve Kirk Wind Park as guests of SSE Airtricity, the principal sponsors of the Eco-Schools Programme.
Further information on the Eco-Schools Programme can be found on the Eco-Schools website