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Saturday 16th October
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Pupils celebrate Eco–Schools… 8 July 2021

Local schools choose active travel to cut car congestion (via Eco–Schools)


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Year 9 Staff and Pupils from Ulidia Integrated College celebrate winning the Post Primary category of the Translink Eco–Schools Travel Challenge which encourages local schools to make ‘smart moves’ by choosing sustainable transport modes to cut down car congestion, protect the environment and boost pupil health and wellbeing. (Image via Translink)

Translink and Eco–Schools – the international environmental education programme – teamed up again this year to deliver one of the most popular school travel challenges across Northern Ireland. Despite the difficulties of COVID–19 teachers, pupils, staff and parents  committed to take part in the annual eco travel initiative, which has marked the completion of another successful programme with the announcement of its winning schools and pupils

The Translink Eco–Schools Travel Challenge promotes walking, cycling, bus and train travel for the school run instead of car use. Since its launch, pupils, school members, and parents, have made over 340,000 sustainable journeys using ‘smart moves’ active travel modes in an effort to cut car congestion at the school gates, protect the environment and boost their health and wellbeing. The travel challenge incorporates curriculum–linked classroom resources and encourages schools to develop sustainable travel plans for at least 2 weeks in order to achieve the prestigious Eco–Schools Green Flag Award.

The winners for 2020–21 are:

  • Most Eco–Journeys – Post Primary – Ulidia Integrated College, Carrickfergus Prize £300
  • Most Improved Class – Primary – Primary 5 at St Colum’s Primary School, Portstewart Prize £300
  • Best Pupil & Transport Hero – Primary 5 Mary Kate from St Colum’s Primary School, Portstewart Prize £50 book token

Translink Health & Safety Manager John Thompson said: “We’re delighted that so many eco journeys were logged during this year’s challenge, despite the disruptions of Covid. As part of our efforts to create a greener world, Translink has launched a Climate Positive Strategy including ambitious targets to achieve Net Zero Emissions across the business by 2040, and active travel is such an important element in achieving this.  Congratulations to the winning schools and pupils – it’s fantastic to see pupils, teachers and parents so involved and committed to playing a role in protecting our planet.”

Charlene McKeown, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said: “We really enjoy working on this great project with Translink and even in our education’s most difficult year to date schools in Northern Ireland still took the time and prioritised sustainable travel and took part in the challenge. It is really encouraging and promising for us to see so many take part in what was a challenging year for many. We hope to see the programme success continue to grow in the future all while having fun and looking after our health and our environment.”

Sandra Patterson, Ulidia Integrated College, said “Congratulations to Y9 Ulidians who have shown that even in a pandemic they can achieve great things. Ulidia Integrated College is very proud of the effort shown by Y9 during the challenge and congratulate the participants on displaying determination and resilience to make a positive environmental impact.”

Linda Mullholland, St Colum’s Primary School, said “Taking part in the Translink Travel Challenge this year was a little different with Covid restrictions and we were unable to run our usual ‘Walking Buses’ to school each morning but our pupils and parents rose to the challenge and they walked, cycled and scooted to school… even without ‘the bus’. There was great competition between our classes and we are enormously proud of the efforts of all our pupils, parents and staff. We are thrilled that our Primary 5 class have won an overall prize for our school. We are delighted that Mary Kate has won Best Pupil award. She is an excellent example who travels sustainably to school – not just on ‘Walking to School’ days but almost every day! Rain or shine, she is such an inspiration for her peers and an amazing example to everyone in our school. A real sustainable transport hero!”

For further information click www.translink.co.uk/ecoschools. Registrations for Translink Eco–Schools Travel Challenge 2021–22 open in September. For further information email Eco–Schools at: eco-schools@keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org

 

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