The judges paid a visit to Ardee, Co. Louth on 10 July to see the Tidy Towns Together Eco Tribe project. Despite the rain there were nothing but smiles from the local schoolchildren eager to present their hard work!
Eco Tribes was first organised by Louth Tidy Towns Together in 2013 and continued successfully in 2014. It involves seven Green Schools partnering with seven Tidy Towns groups. The challenge was to create new wildlife habitats in Louth, in derelict, abandoned or neglected sites, bringing lessons learned in school into the wider community.
Green Fingers Galore!
Each school was asked to create an Eco Tribe and Secret Name/Tag. They had to develop, design and create a bed for a herb garden or meadow on a site selected in the local community.
The seven schools chosen represented all areas of Louth. The judges visited each site and got to see some wonderful work such as:
- The Snowdrops from Scoil Mhuire na Trocaire Ardee. Theirs was an age-friendly theme with a bed created at the Ardee Day Care Centre. Residents of the centre will be able to enjoy this unique space at their leisure.
- The Sally Gardeners from St. Francis National School, Blackrock produced a beautiful herb garden in the shape of their school crest in a derelict site in Blackrock. They cleverly incorporated willow grown in the park and residents from local estates will maintain the garden.
- The Blackthorns from St. Peter’s National School, Dromiskinb used recycled tyres placed in the shape of a human body to place their plants in a neglected area beside the old AOH Hall. The medicinal qualities of all the herbs and plants were explained to the large attendance at their public event.
- The Honeysuckles from St. Paul’s National School, Walshestown reflected the maritime history of Clogherhead with their fish-shaped bed on the site of an old handball alley. A visit to the school from a local fish merchant rounded off this maritime theme.
- Na Laoracha Coill from Collon National School chose a high profile neglected site in the centre of the village green where they created four planting areas. For their public event, children dressed up in turn of the century clothes reflecting the old market square tradition.
- The Rosemary Railway from Scoil Brid, Ardaghy, chose a dull pathway into the local playground and brightened it up no end with their colourful planting and design
- The Thyme Travellers from Muchgrange National School, Greenore, created a secret garden in a derelict site and were helped greatly by neighbours and friends to beautify the area.
The Benefits of Hard Work!
The Eco Tribes project has proved successful with benefits accruing to local schools and communities throughout County Louth. These benefits have been social, environmental and educational and help cement the relationships between school and the wider community. Most importantly, there have been tangible results with concrete additions been made in enhancing the presentation of villages and communities throughout Louth
The judges departed knowing that the Eco Tribes Project is in very small capable hands.