Agri Aware Crowns Scoil Mhuire, Trim as the new National “Environmental Innovators” Champions!
Agri Aware and BiOrbic crowned students from Scoil Mhuire, Trim, Co. Meath as the National Champions of the pilot TY programme “Environmental Innovators”, with the help and support of Ministers Martin Heydon and Pippa Hackett, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in the UCD BiOrbic Bioeconomy Research Centre.
Over 7,500 Transition Year students from 169 schools took part in the programme nationwide in the first year of its roll-out. Five top group finalists were chosen to attend the event and showcase their idea to a number of leading agri-food stakeholders, giving them the opportunity to meet like-minded peers and to demonstrate their learning over the course of the programme. They also got the chance to tour some of the labs in The O’Brien Centre for Science before the closing ceremony.
The topics covered in the finalists’ projects ranged from implementing proper waste disposal systems and promoting biodiversity in their schools, reusing plastic bale wrap to be recycled into insulating materials, and coming up with alternatives to reduce the tonnes of waste generated every year from the confectionery industry.
The pupils from Scoil Mhuire, Trim received top marks for their project based on recycling farm plastics as insulation for sheds and roofs, and as a result, they will receive a grand prize of €1,000. Rachel, Niamh, Grace and Leesha were inspired by the waste bale wrap they could see on farms and decided to tackle the issue head on and come up with a solution to benefit farmers and the environment.
Praise for Environmental Innovators
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for Land Use and Biodiversity, Pippa Hackett was on hand to crown the winners and award them the €1000 prize. She commented “I was delighted to attend the Environmental Innovators prizegiving in UCD today. I am always fascinated to get a sense of what our students identify as the biggest challenges facing the agricultural sector, as well as their ideas about the potential solutions. I was particularly taken by the fact that 7,500 pupils participated in this initiative. These are the farmers, researchers, and policy makers of the next generation, so it is hugely encouraging to see such a level of interest among our students in addressing food waste, water pollution, biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions.”
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for Research and Development, Martin Heydon attended to welcome the students. He commented on the event saying, “As part of Food Vision 2030 we are striving to build an innovative, competitive and resilient agri-food sector, driven by technology and talent. It’s wonderful to see so many young people take an interest in learning about the challenges facing our global food system and it is even better to see them take on these issues to come up with positive solutions.
Alan Jagoe, Agri Aware Chairman, said of the event: “All of us at Agri Aware are so impressed with the response to Environmental Innovators. It is very encouraging to see so many students and teachers alike get involved with the programme in its first year. The students from Scoil Mhuire are worthy winners, and the standard of projects from all the groups was very high across the board. Many thanks to our partners BiOrbic and the supporting agrifood stakeholders who attended today to help us make the final decision”.