A primary school teacher from Ballyclare has been named Belfast Harbour Green Teacher of the Year 2011 at an exciting Challenge Day at W5 attended by The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile.
Mr McAllister, from Fairview Primary School, Ballyclare, scooped the top prize in the Northern Ireland-wide search for the primary school teacher who showed most leadership and took most responsibility for the environment. Mr. Black from Phoenix Integrated Primary School in Cookstown took Second Place with Mrs Phoenix from St Colman’s Primary School, Derriaghy claiming third prize.
The unique competition, sponsored by Belfast Harbour and organised through Action Renewables, called on primary school pupils across Northern Ireland to help find the region’s ‘greenest teacher’ by nominating their teacher and explaining, in no more than 100 words, the hard work their teacher does to look after the environment and educate children about ‘eco’ issues.
The Green Teacher of the Year 2011 Awards came to an exciting finale at an environmental challenge day at W5 on Wednesday, during which the six shortlisted teachers and their classes enjoyed an interactive ‘Talking Rubbish’ show and designed, built and trialled their own wind-powered racing machines - as well as meeting Webster the Port Monster, Belfast Harbour’s Environmental Guardian.
Speaking at the Challenge Day at W5, The Lord Mayor of Belfast said:
“I would like to congratulate every school, pupil and teacher who has participated in Belfast Harbour’s Green Teacher of the Year award. The huge number of entries this year is a testament to Northern Ireland education’s commitment to teaching environmental knowledge and responsibility to our next generation of leaders.
“It is fantastic to hear about the environmental work Northern Ireland teachers are involved in, such as setting up eco clubs, reducing energy in school, and even creating wormeries at school. The environment is extremely important to everyone and Belfast City Council has a sustainable action plan to protect our environment. We are currently working on recycling, reducing our energy using and exploring sustainable travel methods.”
The entries were judged by a panel of experts, including David Knott, Environmental Manager, Belfast Harbour, and Laura Coey, Primary School climate change teacher, Action Renewables, as well as sustainability representative, Jackie Gibson from Graham Construction.
Roy Adair, Belfast Harbour CEO, said:
“Belfast Harbour would like to congratulate all of the individual entries for this year’s award along with our skilled panel of judges – the competition was again so strong, that choosing the six finalists from over 320 entries was an extremely difficult job. We would like to extend particular praise to Mr McAllister for his success, along with the finalists who came from schools all over Northern Ireland.
“Belfast Harbour is actively committed to fulfilling our environmental responsibilities and highlighting the benefits of reducing waste and energy consumption to a wider audience. The Green Teacher initiative is a key element of our extensive engagement with schools as we believe it is important to educate children at a young age on green issues and actively reward those who bring the benefits of environmental responsibility to the forefront of education.”
As well as enjoying the Challenge Day, the successful teachers also won large hampers, goodie bags and tickets for their class to see the Ulster Orchestra perform the music to the Christmas classic ‘The Snowman’ at the Ulster Hall. The other finalists were Mr Black from Phoenix Integrated Primary School in Cookstown, Mrs McCann from Glengormly Integrated Primary School, and Mrs Griggs from Spires Primary School in Magherafelt. All other finalists received goodie bags in addition to a workshop with the Ulster Orchestra.
Nicola Murphy, New Business Developer, Action Renewables, said:
“Action Renewables is delighted to have teamed up with Belfast Harbour for the third year of this extremely successful competition, recognising primary school teachers’ continued commitment to environmental projects while educating children about green issues. The Challenge Day is a great way to reward both pupils and their teachers while allowing children to learn about local and wider environmental issues in an innovative and exciting way, such as creating a wind-powered racing machine.
“It was tremendous to see so many schoolchildren interact with each other at the Challenge Day and be educated about the importance of caring for their environment in a fun-filled way. From speaking to teachers and pupils here today, it is encouraging to see so many Northern Ireland teachers and pupils with genuine enthusiasm about creating a greener environment.”