23 Jan 2022

Offaly school breaks new ground with sustainability module

The Sacred Heart School Tullamore's new sustainability module for students in Transition Year will include a focus on the transformation of Bord na Mona

The Sacred Heart School Tullamore's new sustainability module for students in Transition Year will include a focus on the transformation of Bord na Mona

An Offaly school has introduced a new module in Transition Year (TY) based on Global Sustainability.

Sindy Meleady, TY year head in the Sacred Heart School in Tullamore,  is co-ordinating this module and feels strongly that school should be the initiators of small changes in communities, that can impact on all our lives.

“Our Science module in TY is already linked to a sustainability project run in conjunction with Trinity College Dublin but we are also hoping to incorporate App design and Computer Programming in this revamped module,” said Ms Meleady.

“It is really important to us that the girls are educated on environmental issues and our key objective is to design an app to support this environmental awareness for our whole school community.”

Ms Meleady hopes to work with Offaly County Council and Munster Technological University to deliver this very diverse module.

For Ms Meleady, Bord na Mona is key to this new module. She cites the impact of Bord na Mona on every Midlander’s life – memories of summers spent on bogs, footing turf and the employment and lives that the company sustained for generations in the local area.

She plans to shape the module around the bogs as carbon sinks, to study the rewetting of the bogs and to research the re-homing of the crane.

For Ms Meleady recycling and the role of Bord na Mona as an energy provider will be central to the lives of young people and she believes it is vital that they are educated in all aspects of a local sustainable environment.

Ms Meleady said: “Bord Na Mona has managed to do something incredible by moving from fossil fuel to renewable energy and there is an immense opportunity for schools to harness the information and the cultural change around this process.”

Ms Meleady is ably assisted by fellow Science and Chemistry teacher Aisling Burke and Careers teacher, Laura Geraghty.
For Ms Geraghty, she has her eye firmly set on the future and thinks that SHS students could benefit hugely from associated lectures on careers in Sustainable Development.

“For us here in the SHS, it is always about looking to the future and as careers go, there is a real move towards upcycling and recycling and we can use the momentum of this project to expose the girls to sustainable careers in Science, Technology and the Social Sciences,” said Ms Geraghty.

Ms Geraghty feels that the world of work is about to make significant adjustments because of Covid-19 and she wants to ensure that the girls of the SHS are well prepared for the changes.

Principal Pauline McKenna concurs stating that “the world has changed not just in terms of technology and health; our younger generations are so well informed about climate change and its environmental impact, so it would be a failure on our part not to revamp our TY module and provide the opportunity for students to experience a cultural, scientific and environmental project that may be immensely important for their future careers.”

Ms McKenna concluded: “We’re really looking forward to the outcome of this module, so fingers crossed!”

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