A Clare primary school is one of Ireland’s two Park ‘n’ Stride Schools of the Year.
At a ceremony in Dublin Zoo during National Bike Week ‘22, Knockanean NS were named Ireland’s Park ‘n’ Stride Primary School of the Year by the Green-Schools Programme, following their participation in the programme’s Big Travel Challenge in February. Nine schools were awarded at the ceremony and named as Cycling, Walking, Scooting and Park ‘n’ Stride Schools of the Year. Gort Community School in Galway was named Ireland’s Travel School of the Year at the ceremony.
During February schools undertook the Green-Schools Big Travel Challenge – now in its seventh year – which asked them to concentrate on one sustainable transport mode for two weeks to see if they could achieve real, lasting change in the travel behaviour of their staff and students. The Challenge is an initiative of Green-Schools Travel, which is supported by the NTA and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.
Knockanean NS chose to focus their Big Travel Challenge efforts on park ‘n’ stride, which asks families to park safely within walking distance of their school and walk the last kilometre or more to the school gates. To help achieve their aims the staff and students of Knockanean NS ran a slow down campaign outside their school and incorporated a walking bus element into the walk to school, to encourage more people to join in. Their efforts were rewarded with a increase of 140 people parking and striding to school over the course of the Big Travel Challenge.
Congratulating the schools on their achievements, Green-Schools Travel Manager Jane Hackett said: “Habits are hard to break – particularly during the colder, darker winter months. We are excited to be back celebrating the Big Travel Challenge in person and I’m seriously impressed with the hard work and dedication these students put into changing travel habits at their school. We have a primary school that grew their cycling numbers from one sole student to 15, in a school population of just 25! These results aren’t easily come by so I can’t congratulate our nine winners enough.”
Green-Schools is Ireland’s leading environmental management and education programme for schools. Promoting long-term, whole-school action for the environment Green-Schools is a student-led programme with involvement from the wider community.
The programme is operated and co-ordinated by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce (FEE member for Ireland). The Green-Schools Travel theme, which promotes the #BigTravelChallenge, is funded by the Department of Transport and supported by the National Transport Authority.