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St. Tiernan’s College crowned winners of Agri Aware’s and BiOrbic’s Environmental Innovators programme

February 9, 2024

Michael Geary

Agri Aware and BiOrbic crowned students from St. Tiernan’s College, Crossmolina, Co. Mayo as the National Champions of the transition year programme Environmental Innovators, yesterday, February 6, at the Bord Bia Global Hub in Co. Dublin.

Students Ríán Reilly, James Carson, Heidi Verry and Migeal Azanza (not pictured) came out on top with their project titled ’Binformation’. During the competition, the judges were impressed by the simplicity and relevance of the student’s communication campaign style project. The students raised an important question: do we truly understand how to recycle items properly? Through a survey, they discovered that people were not entirely confident that they were disposing of their waste in the correct bin.

We are all guilty of incorrectly disposing of waste and the students from St. Tiernan’s College wanted to take the “pressure off of everyday people” of how to correctly dispose their waste, as it is a “massive ask to know off by heart” of how each type of waste is to be disposed of correctly.

Therefore, the students from Co. Mayo decided to make this information available to students in their schools through the creation of posters and also through the use of a QR code you can scan with your mobile phone to access how to bin your waste correctly.

The rollout of the programme for the second year running saw over 9,500 Transition Year students take part across 185 schools, which is up on the 7,500 that participated in the programmes pilot year.

Eight top group finalists were chosen to attend the event at the Bord Bia Global Hub 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.

Second and third prize were awarded to “Tackling Silage Effluent,” submitted by Katie Larrisey and Lucy MacMahon from Scoil Mhuire Trim and ‘Community Kitchens’, submitted by Holly Cheevers and Haylie Foley from Greystones Community College.

Agri Aware Director Marcus O’Halloran said of the event: “It was an incredible day at the Bord Bia Global Hub to witness eight fantastic projects from schools right across the country.

“The judges were very impressed with the calibre of the work students presented on the day and it made for a very difficult decision who to crown the winner of the programme.

“However, students from St. Tiernan’s College demonstrated a need for a solution to a challenge that many of us thought we had conquered, but in reality that isn’t the case.

“Their project brought to light the need for more readily accessible information on the correct disposal of waste and the benefits that this can bring to the environment. In many ways it was a wake-up call that that we need to be more aware of how we are disposing waste and the consequences of not doing so correctly.

“It was brilliant once again to see so many students participate in the programme this year. St. Tiernan’s College were worthy winners and a big congratulations to them and their teachers on their success. Lastly, many thanks to our partners BiOrbic and the supporting agrifood stakeholders who attended today to help us make the final decision.”

Director of BiOrbic, Kevin O’Connor added: “It is great to see such a diversity of fantastic ideas from young environmental innovators to address challenges as diverse as silage run off, food use efficiency to benefit the vulnerable in society and reducing confusion about waste management.”