Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has announced that nine schools in the Newry & Mourne area will receive a total of £24,636 from the DOE’s Challenge Fund.
In June this year, the Minister invited applications from community groups and schools to carry out projects that would improve their local environment. Today he announced that 32 schools and nurseries across Northern Ireland will be offered £90,245 from the Challenge Fund for the Environmental Education projects.
St. Joseph’s (Meigh), St. Mary’s (Newry), Dromintee Primary Schools and St. Paul’s High School (Bessbrook) will collaborate with Ring of Gullion AONB to deliver their “’StreamScapes Gullion Waters & Wilds’” project. This hands-on educational programme will engage participants in theory sessions as well as a ‘hands-on’ aquatic survey of the biodiversity within the local aquatic environment.
Funding for a further five schools will support them in getting their pupils outdoors to enjoy the area’s rich natural environment. The five schools will engage in a variety of activities including developing their gardens to increase biodiversity, delivering educational programmes and woodland pathway creation.
Announcing the successful projects Mark H Durkan said: “It is fantastic to see the passion that our young people have in the protection and enhancement of the environment. I am delighted that my Department is able to provide a boost for these nine schools in the Newry area. St Brigid’s Primary School’s woodland pathway will be a great asset in promoting the community’s access to their natural environment. I also wish to commend the three primary schools and St Paul’s High School who will join forces to deliver an exciting educational programme on the area’s rich aquatic environment.
“This investment in children and young people is vital, not only for the local environment and wider community in the present, but for generations to come.”
The Minister continued: “I pledged that the 5p levy on carrier bags would be ploughed back into the environment. The Challenge Fund is one way of doing that.
“I commend all the Challenge Fund applicants for their desire to carry out real environmental action within their communities, and I am looking forward to seeing the outcomes of these 32 schools projects in the coming months.”