Cloonloo National School
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Biodiversity 2018 – 2020

Step 1:  Green School Committee:

Our Green School Committee consists of  6 children  representatives from the Junior and Senior Rooms,  Chris Harrison (School Caretaker ), Harriet  Lavery-Reynders (Parent), Ms. Jordan (Teacher) and Ms. Surlis (Principal).

  • Our Green School Committee usually consists of 6 children and 4 adults.
  • Each class (First- Sixth) has one representative on the Green School Committee.
  • Priority is given to sixth class children.
  • If a number of children from the same class want to become a member of the committee, a lottery takes place.
  • Adult members consist of teachers, parents and non-teaching staff (caretaker).
  • Parental committee members are selected by lottery also.
  • The committee changes after the completion of a theme.
  • Regular meetings are held, usually once a month.
  • Two children have roles as Chairperson and Secretary.  The Chairperson ensures the meeting agenda is followed. The secretary is responsible for recording the minutes of the meetings.
  •  The meetings update everybody on what has been completed and decide on future events.
  • At the school assembly, Green School decisions and/or information is shared with all the children.
  • The children not directly involved on the committee  have an input and share their ideas at these assemblies.
  • Information  is also displayed on the Green School Notice Board which is located in a prominent position in the hallway.
  • We also use the School Newsletter and School Website to circulate information to the wider community.

Step 2: Biodiversity Review:

A baseline biodiversity awareness survey was carried out by Ms. Jordan in Year 1 (2018/2019).  The children and school staff answered questions about biodiversity and were asked to identify native flora and fauna. The results showed that only 11% of children/staff knew what biodiversity was. The children/staff were strong at native animal and insect identification but much weaker at bird, tree and flower identification.

In Year 2 (2019/2020) we applied to participate in The Great Plant Hunt. As part of the process, each class took part in a Biodiversity Awareness Survey.  Here were the overall results before implementing the programme.

The children in the Senior Room complied a Habitat Map of the school grounds in Year 1 (2018/2019).

We revisited previous themes and discussed with the children how they are linked with Biodiversity and how we should continue to implement our previous themes.


Step 3: Action Plan:

Aims & Targets

  1. To ensure the whole school is fully aware of the Green-Schools Biodiversity Theme and to encourage their participation in the theme by January of Year Two.
  2. To identify and investigate biodiversity in our school/local area and further afield. To help preserve and enhance biodiversity in our school.

Biodiversity Action Plan

Bug Hotel Project

Bug Hotel from Cloonloo School on Vimeo.

Step 4: Monitoring & Evaluating

  • The regular meetings held by our Green School Committee ensure that a progressive approach is taken to achieve our action plans and to keep us on track concerning the tasks assigned to individuals/groups.
  • We get feedback from the children at the whole school assemblies.
  • We check and revise the Action Plan.
  • We display graphs, pictures and results on the Green School Notice Board.
  • We  evaluated levels of awareness by revisiting the Biodiversity Awareness Survey carried out in Year 1.  As you can see below, in Year 2,  the children and staff improved their knowledge in nearly all areas.

  • We evaluated  levels of biodiversity in the school by habitat mapping the school grounds again in Year 2 and  we examined and compared the maps from Year one and Year Two.

  • Kahoot Quizzes will be used to monitor children’s knowledge and awareness of biodiversity.

Native Hedgerow Planting

Step 5: Curriculum Work

  • English:
    • Writing Biodiversity Code
    • Source of topics for writing, poetry
    • Promote communication skills, public speaking, debates, discussions
  • Gaeilge:
    • An Aimsir
    • Ainmhithe
  • Visual Arts:
    • Drawing – plants/animals from observation
    • Printing – leaf rubbings/bark rubbings
    • Paint & Colour
    • Construction of habitats
    • Fabric & Fibers – Weaving natural materials – rushes
  • Maths:
    • Data – Making graphs, tally charts, surveys
    • Number – counting
    • EMA – Categorisation and sorting
    • Algebra – Patterns
    • Shape & Space – Spatial Awareness, Symmetry
    • Measures  – Time
  • Geography:
    • Mapping – Creating school Habitat Maps to show different habitats and locate various features
    • Environmental Awareness and Care
    • Natural Environments – Habitats
    • Study of humans and their impact on the natural environment – pollution, climate change
    • Weather – How the change in climate may affect biodiversity nationally and internationally
  • History:
    • Local history – asking parents, grandparents and older member of the community about how the local environment and wildlife has changed in their life time
    • Examination of losses of habitats and species past, present and future
    • Relate biodiversity loss to change in lifestyles and society.
  • Science: Living Things
    • Study of habitats and species and how they interact.
    • Study of changes through the seasons
    • Learning through observation: watching how species change their behaviour through the seasons
    • Study of life cycles of various species
    • Learn about food chains and how easily they can be disrupted
    • Encourage responsibility for the environment and promote sustainable development
    • Promote communication of ideas, report writing and presentation
    • Food – where it comes from
    • Environmental Awareness and Care
  • SPHE:
    • My School Community
    • Media Education
  • PE:
    • Outdoor & Orienteering – Walking, Cycling

Curriculum Work

Hazelwood Nature Walk

Step 6: Informing & Involving

The parent/children members of the Green School Committee are changed every two years when a new Green School Theme is introduced.

After each Green-School meeting, a Green-School assembly is held with all the children in the school.  Children are informed about what targets have been achieved and information is provided and discussed.

All children in the school are involved  in implementing actions  from the Action Plan.

A Green-Schools notice board is located in a prominent spot in the hallway for all the children in the school to see.  This notice board displays the action plan and up to date information about Green-School activities.  The notice board is regularly changed and updated.

The school newsletter is used to bring information about the Green-School programme and the children’s on going work to parents, teachers and the Board of Management.

The school website is regularly updated  with Green School news.

Various Green School Biodiversity activities undertaken by the school have been published by various media to bring attention to a wider audience.  Photographs of the Bug Hotel were published in the Roscommon Herald and Sligo Champion and on the website BoyleToday.  An article about Biodiversity was published on BoyleToday and was sent to a children’s magazine called “Newsflash/Primary Planet”.

Window Bird Feeder

 Our Day Of Action

We had planned to participate in the 2020 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boyle.  The children, school staff and parents were going to dress up as animals/plants. The parents were going to carry Biodiversity signs and slogans created by the children. The children were going to perform a dance to the song “I’m still standing”.  However, due to Covid 19 the Parade was cancelled and we had to arrange an alternative Day of Action.

On Thursday 12th March 2020, we held our Day of Action in the school. We  carried out a Spring Clean in the school grounds and on the surrounding roads. The children and staff collected rubbish while also identifying local flora and fauna.  The children also did lots of planting on the day with the help of  school staff, a parent Ruth Dowd and the caretaker Chris Harrison. They planted flowers in flower pots – some was placed at the school entrance and some were placed on the Bug Hotel to attract insects such as bees and butterflies.  The children planted native wildflowers to create a Wildflower Garden. The children also planted some vegetables and fruits such as strawberries, broad beans, sugar snap peas, carrots, lettuce and  herbs such as mint, thyme, parsley and  lemon balm in the raised beds. We also purchased a small bee hive and placed it on the Bug Hotel.

Day of Action from Cloonloo School on Vimeo.

Step 7:  Green School Code:

Help our green planet,

It’s as easy as pie.

But it’s in a lot of danger,

I won’t lie.


We can save biodiversity,

From its dark fate!

If we all work together,

Before it’s too late.

In January 2020, the school held a Biodiversity Code Poster Competition.  All the children were asked to create a catchy Green-School Biodiversity rhyme, slogan or saying.  The winning slogan would be used as the schools Biodiversity Code.

All the children participated and there was a very high standard of entries.  The Green School Committee came together to discuss the entries.  The pupils on the committee choose their favourite entries  and the final decision was left with the adults on the Green School Committee.  It was decided that Julianne Moore (5th Class) was the winner of the Biodiversity Slogan Competition.

The Green School Biodiversity Code is said on a daily basis  and is displayed proudly on the Green School Notice Board and in the classrooms.

Why choose Cloonloo National School?

  • Low pupil-teacher ratio – 1:1 teaching
  • DEIS School – This means extra grant to the school to subsidise school activities, outing and cost of books etc
  • Heavily subsidised books – total book cost is €25 which includes all books, copies, pencils, colours etc
  • Heavily subsidised school outings, tours
  • Free packed school lunches
  • Heavily subsidised swimming classes for all children
  • Teachers very accessible and available to talk to
  • Uniform – Very practical. White or blue t-shirt, navy or black trousers/tracksuit bottoms