Green Flag School


St Mary’s has been part of the Green Schools’ Programme for well over ten years. To date, the school has been awarded seven green flags, the most recent being for Global Citizenship. The Green Schools’ Programme is a very well-structured one involving seven steps. An Taisce’s Educational Unit in conjunction with local authorities, provide support for schools involved. The programme employs a thematic approach which works extremely well within the educational context. Flags have been awarded to St Mary’s for our work on the themes of Waste Management, Water, Energy, Travel, Green Homes, Biodiversity and Global Citizenship.








When St Mary’s set out on its green journey almost ten years ago, Ireland was thriving and not many people wanted to know about being eco-friendly or economical! Environmentalists and tree-huggers were viewed as alternative! St Mary’s, nevertheless, ploughed ahead with its Green School Campaign and has made remarkable success over the years. St Mary’s has established very keen Adult and Pupil Green Committees. Green areas are set up in each classroom and Gardaí Glasa, Water Watchers and Energy Squads monitor progress. Pledges are composed for each theme and are displayed in the green area of each classroom.

We have an extensive Green Area (An Ceantar Glas) right in the heart of our school, which houses containers for various recycled materials and where children can be spotted daily adding their recyclables.

In 2011 the school installed three 10,000-litre rainwater tanks and now over 50% of our water comes from rainwater. Our water bills have been reduced from €6,000 to €3,000 per annum. Each classroom is fitted with toilet eco-flush buttons, minimising the water flushed every day. Classrooms have sensor-operated (PIRs) lighting, so that lights switch off automatically when there’s no activity in the room. To address classroom waste, each classroom operates a ‘bin system’ whereby dry waste is recycled and organic waste is composted. All of our school newsletters are sent electronically thus cutting down dramatically on paper and ink waste. In 2017 we installed solar panels to address our energy usage and to save school funds.


Like many Irish schools, WOW (Walking on Wednesday) and COW (Cycling on Wednesday) campaigns are embedded in our school calendar. Teachers dutifully meet up with either cyclists or walkers every Wednesday and escort them safely to school. This initiative aims to reduce traffic congestion around the school. Some pupils are very creative and even roller-blade, scoot or flicker to school!


Although a lot of thought and hard work has gone into the Green Schools’ campaign, we also see the fun side of being green and have had some good laughs along the way. Every year we dress up and participate in the St Patrick’s Day parade in Trim to promote whatever green theme we are working on that particular year. We have created quite a stir in the town with our costumes!  


In keeping with the Mercy ethos of our school, we manage to help others through our recycling initiatives. Every year we hold a Siopa Glas where old toys, books and other items are donated to the school and are then sold. The proceeds are given to either a local charity or sent to our dear friend and former principal, Sr Claudia in Zambia for her Special Education school.

Every day is a Green day at St Mary’s. Being green is a way of life for our staff, our pupils and their families. We all have a deep appreciation of the need to protect our ‘common home’ and conserve our natural resources in whatever ways we can.

Green is cool, at home, at school and around the globe!







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