GALLERY: Offaly youngsters take part in Bord na Móna’s Eco Rangers Programme

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Bord na Móna, one of Ireland’s most iconic brands, is celebrating the success of its Eco Rangers schools programme as a record number of 200 schools and over 20,000 children have participated in the programme to date, which is now into its second successful year on the primary school education syllabus.

Eco Rangers, facilitated by Real Nation, aims to reconnect children with nature and teaches them the importance of protecting nature through a series of educational and fun elements. Teachers are provided with all the tools they need such as teachers’ packs, lesson plans and games. This enables classes to embark on Eco Safaris where they can map out nature trails, look at and investigate flora and fauna, take photos or draw pictures and document what they see. Children are encouraged to creatively connect with nature through with each school developing their own bespoke nature table.

Commenting on the initiative, Orla Kane Strategy Planning, Corporate Social Responsibility and Marketing Manager at Bord na Móna said: "At Bord na Móna, our ethos focuses on being more Naturally Driven to provide a sustainable future and through the Eco Rangers programmes we’re able to get down to a grass roots level by encouraging children to reconnect with nature and recognise the importance of protecting our land."

"It’s essential that we all try our best to conserve resources and through Eco Rangers, children will not only learn how to conserve it but they will also learn about different habitats and ecosystems and recognise the importance of protecting them to eventually become Guardians of the Land. We’re delighted to say that while the emphasis is on schools to participate in Eco Rangers, the programme can also be used by the children with their families in their local communities around Ireland," she added

Scoil Bhríde in Ballyboy, Co. Offaly have had huge successes with the Eco Rangers programme and teacher Liadhan Kelly said: "Here in Scoil Bhríde Ballyboy, we are lucky to be surrounded by an abundance of beautiful natural habitats. Nestled at the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, with Lough Boora Parklands only a stone’s throw away, the children are exposed to the beauty of nature on a daily basis."

She continued by saying, "Monday mornings bring tales of weekends spent cycling and walking in Lough Boora, picnicking at the river or fishing up the mountains. We as a school community also recognise the importance of fostering this love of nature, encouraging the children to spend time outdoors on school activities."

"Over the years, the children have gone on trails to the nearby Silver River, eco walks around the village, and last year saw the construction of a bug hotel in the playground along with the rearing and releasing of butterflies. We sometimes forget how fortunate we are to live in such beautiful surroundings, but in a school like Scoil Bhríde we are constantly reminded just how beautiful our natural world is," she concluded.

Eco Rangers is suitable for all primary school classes from junior infants through to sixth class. Pupils can learn at their own level so is ideal for mixed ability groups.

Further information on Eco Rangers can be found on www.bordnamona.ie

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