A Green Flag action day, based on the theme of biodiversity, was held at Inch National School, Bouladuff, Thurles on Thursday, May 22nd.
The school is working towards its fifth green flag which focuses on nurturing, encouraging and studying nature in the school environs and local community. As part of the action day activities, children took to the school grounds to observe, study and identify trees, flowers, shrubs and plants already growing in the school green areas, hedgerows and garden. Small leaf samples, and photos using the school ipads, were taken by the pupils to study and identify many species of plants, wild and planted flowers and trees in our school environment.
Senior classes were also kept very busy using a trundle wheel, and their excellent maths skills, to draw a scaled habitat map of the school and its surrounds marking in key features of the natural and built environment.
This map will be used to identify species already in existence in the school and to earmark areas for further development through planting of flowers, trees, herbs or shrubs which will support insects, plant and wildlife at the school.
The middle room worked on the school rockery, tidying back the spring daffodils and planting shrubs which are intended to specifically attract butterflies and ladybirds – a significant part of the biodiversity programme. They are also working on the construction of an insect hotel using traditional red bricks, kindly donated by parents, working with pine cones, moss, twigs and leaves to attract a range of insects which can also be identified and studied by the children in due course.
The junior room busied themselves, working with the help of parent and gardening enthusiast Rosita Callanan, by planting wildflowers, wheat and barley in the school organic garden which already contains potatoes, parsley, curly Kale, red cabbage and greyhound cabbage, broccoli, peas, garlic, onions, mangetout, strawberries and pumpkins.
They will also be undertaking a ladybird hunt and have already learned an array of interesting and fun facts on ladybirds and their habitat and how they are under threat from other species.
Inch school was also delighted to once again receive a visit from keen gardener Michael Atik from Borrisoleigh. Michael is helping the children plant carrots and has been on hand previously to give excellent advice and guidance on how to maximise the garden with a variety of produce and seasonal fruit, herbs and vegetables.
School curriculum work also supports the hands on work of the children and they have been learning about a variety of butterflies, and their importance to the ecosystem, and the kinds of plants, flowers and shrubs that will attract bees, butterflies and other insects to the garden.
A hugely important part of the school curriculum the children gain tremendous enjoyment, sense of achievement and learning opportunities from seeing various types of fruit, vegetables and herbs grown from seed or plant. Little wonder harvest time is always popular when they get to sample the produce or take it home to cook.