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VIPSanta Experience goes Green!

 

VIPSanta is Waterford Winterval’s Santa’s Grotto experience for 2021, and this year’s theme is a ‘Green Christmas’.

Brian Gormally, founder of Sherpa Events and VIPSanta, is an advocate of sustainability and that ethos is apparent at this year’s Santa spectacular at the Old Postal Sorting Office on the Quay.

Not only has Brian and his team dressed the venue in leafy greenery and festive decorations, the interior is illuminated with low-level LED lighting to give the grotto a warm, festive feel.

Brian’s journey into the events world started with Body&Soul Festival, Ireland’s most pioneering and progressive festival when it comes to creativity, innovation and sustainability.  Inspired by their green sustainable ethos, he has continued to implement these principles in to all of Sherpa’s corporate and public offerings.

For the first time ever, Winterval’s Santa Experience has an onsite café, The YuleTide Café, which uses compostable cups, napkins, plates and wooden cutlery.  The cups are certified 100% eco-friendly, produced from cardboard with a water-based coating, to enable them to decompose quickly.

Brian said, “The Santa gift, which comprises of The Johnny Magory book, written by award-winning Irish author Emma Jane Leeson, is produced in Ireland on sustainably sourced, biodegradable and recyclable paper.  If we can instil the benefits of a ‘conscious Christmas’ to parents, I truly believe that younger children will accept it and in fact, come to expect it.”

Brian added that Sherpa Events is passionate about creating sustainable events.  “When we are approached to get involved in an event, what we’re hearing is that it is increasingly important to our customers that their event has a ‘leave no-trace’ policy or at least we should be carrying out a carbon audit on every event we produce. That’s where we excel. We are experts are making memorable experiences and we get a great sense of achievement in meeting their needs, while doing so in a sustainable way that doesn’t cost the earth.”

“Children and teenagers are passionate about the environment.  Role models like Greta Thunberg have taught them that action can achieve results, if we work together.  They are more aware of climate change than previous generations were. It’s something that they are talking about in school and also at home with their families.  So it is great that we can deliver an environmentally-friendly event for the next generation of change-makers.”

Brian studied music production before cutting his teeth at some of Ireland’s leading events, including the likes of the Volvo Ocean Race, Web Summit and Heineken Music as well as numerous music festivals such as Electric Picnic and Body&Soul where he has been a lead production manager for a decade.  Body&Soul Festival has shown the strongest commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.

 

To find out about the fun, festive, family-friendly events taking place at Winterval in Waterford visit www.winterval.ie

St. Augustine’s College helping local community to reduce single use plastic

Secondary schools in Waterford got behind National Reuse Month’s campaign to get more people reusing and recycling.

As part of the national campaign throughout October, people were encouraged to reuse more in every aspect of daily life.  There were initiatives for everyone this year, from how to encourage reuse, and cut out disposable plastics at sports club or school, to upcycling everything from fashion to furniture.

Schools learned about the benefits of refilling a reusable bottle with water versus using a single use water bottle and disposing of it.  The online workshop was held by Waterford City and County Council and then the students of St. Augustine’s College, Dungarvan took action in their community by encouraging local businesses to offer water refills and register to appear on Refill.ie’s Tap Map, a site which shows all the locations in Ireland where a free water refill is available.

Speaking at St. Augustine’s College in Dungarvan, Deputy Mayor Cllr Seanie Power said, “This is a great campaign for communities up and down the county to get involved in and to take action against plastics, thus preventing waste and acting against climate change. This competition has united communities in a common goal to responsibly refill a reusable bottle and continue to contribute to the positive results the campaign has seen to date.”

Ella Ryan, Environmental Awareness Officer with Waterford City & County Council added, “Schools across the county have done tremendous work for this competition.”

“This campaign has highlighted the benefits of refilling and reusing, not just within the school but across the wider community. We were delighted to receive LAPN funding from the EPA to run this competition. I would encourage everyone to look at the Tap Map on Refill.ie to check where their local refill points are located.”

Congratulations to the St. Augustine’s Transition Year students and TY Coordinator Margo McGann for driving the project in the school.

New Suir River walk opens to public

With construction complete on the enhanced Suir River Walk, the newly extended pathway from Maypark Village to Cove Lane was opened to the public this week.

Improvements to the 3km of woodland trail included the widening of paths, realigning of the path to avoid mature trees, the installation of culverts, fencing, and a new entrance was created at Cove Lane, while the entrance at King’s Channel was improved.

Overall, the works have improved access to the trail, and made it more accessible to a wide range of users.

Fergus Galvin, Director of Services, Waterford City and County Council said that the improvements will undoubtedly make the trail even more appealing.  “It was a somewhat well kept secret amongst those in the vicinity.  While the infrastructure was already there with a path from the Kings Channel entrance right through to Freshfield, these works have greatly enhanced the trail, and extended it a further 500 metres to Cove Lane.”

“Since the closure of the Snowcream site, Waterford City and County Council has agreed to purchase the site which includes Goff Woods from Glanbia.  The natural woodland area on the banks of the Suir has been inaccessible for many years and this trail which was developed under licence from Glanbia will enable the public to enjoy the woodland again.”

“Our ultimate ambition would be to extend the pathway all the way into the heart of the city centre creating a continuous 4.3km long path from Ballinakill to Georges Quay and we will be developing plans during 2022 to achieve this.”

The walkway is bounded by the River Suir to the north and sloping woodlands to the south.  With intriguing glimpses of the River Suir, careful consideration has been given to the preservation of the indigenous woodland, which comprises of oak, yew, holly, beech and ash trees.  The new pathway that runs the length of the trail is littered with fallen leaves to give a slightly yielding surface, which is perfect for walkers and runners.

Waterford City & County Mayor Cllr. Joe Kelly acknowledged that enhanced pathway is a welcome addition.  “This original walkway was of huge benefit to those from the area, however with the improvements and extension it is will be an amenity that can be enjoyed by many more.”

“It is a wonderful addition and the improvements to the surfacing will make it a viable option for walkers, joggers and families wishing to enjoy the outdoors”.

The works were completed in 2021, after Waterford City & County Council received funding from the National Transport Authority under the July Jobs Stimulus Plan for the development of Cycling and Walking Projects.

The funding is designed to support local authorities’ response to Covid-19 challenges and assist with their work to equip local communities and businesses with improved walking and cycling infrastructure.  Three sections of the Suir River Walk were completed by three local contractors, Liam Whelan Plant Hire, Richard Forristal Ltd and Mallwood Ltd, with expenditure totalling €366,000 in 2020-2021.

-ENDS

Free to use images:  David Murphy

Waterford Council secures conviction against waste collector for illegal dumping

In a sitting of Waterford District Court on November 22nd 2021, Waterford City and County Council secured a prosecution against an unauthorised waste collector for the 2019 illegal collection and subsequent dumping of waste from a cliff near Annestown, Co Waterford.

The dumping, first reported in July 2019, occurred in part of the UNESCO Copper Coast Geopark in an area with a Special Protection designation for birds.

The clean-up operation, carried out by a specialist “working at heights” team, safely removed 3.2 tonnes of waste from the cliff top.

Prosecutions were also taken against the householder who gave their waste to the collector, as well as the waste collector themselves, who did not have a valid Waste Collection Permit.  Waterford City and County Council subsequently dropped the prosecution of the householder as they provided information to secure the conviction of the Waste Collector.

In sentencing Judge Staunton described illegal dumping as a “scourge” and highlighted the efforts locals undertake to promote tourism, mentioning that dumping like this in a beauty spot undermines that public effort.

The waste collector was sentenced to 6 months in jail, in addition to a €200 fine and €6,100 in costs.

Speaking following the judgement, Waterford City and County Council’s Senior Executive Engineer, Niall Kane said, “This case highlights the importance of the public checking to make sure a collector has a waste collection permit.  Legitimate waste collectors must carry a copy of their waste collection permit and have their permit number on their vehicle.  Collectors can be checked on NWCPO.ie to see if they have a permit.  Remember it is an offence to give your waste to an unauthorised waste collector.”

Larchville and Lisduggan residents Plant the Parish

Larchville & Lisduggan Residents’ Association recently got involved in planting their parish!

Plant the Parish, an initiative of Waterford City and Council working with local residents’ associations, encourages communities to get out and about and ‘green’ their shared spaces.

With bedding plants supplied by Waterford City and County Council, the local residents’ associations rallied the community to get planting and enhance the communal areas, by adding colour to the estates.

Highlighting the importance of community involvement in green initiatives, Michael Murphy, Estate and Tenancy Management Officer, Waterford City and County Council, was delighted with the response from the Residents’ Association.

Michael said, “The idea behind Plant the Parish was to encourage local communities to get out and about in the community and get planting.  There was a fantastic response by both Larchville and Lisduggan residents and I have to commend the  Residents’ Association for getting behind Plant the Parish.”

“It is heartening to see the local pride in the community and the effort made by these residents committees. The results were fantastic and will benefit the wider community. Greening our communities promotes improved air-quality, and promotes better physical and mental health to all residents. It also has a knock-on effect in encouraging more residents to make an effort in planting and getting involved in other green initiatives.”

Cllr. John Hearne, who was involved with the committees, added, “I’d like to acknowledge all the residents and the Residents’ Association Committee that took part in ‘Plant the Parish’ in order to keep our outdoor living spaces clean, green and welcoming.”

“There is a wonderful sense of belonging in Larchville and Lisduggan and this initiative highlighted that even more.  Young and old got involved in the planting and the tidy up, and it’s great to see that despite the challenges of the pandemic, community spirit is stronger than ever in Larchville and Lisduggan.”

“I hope that this initiative will encourage more people to get involved and help us to make Larchville and Lisduggan even better places to live.”

-ENDS-

Advice for Public on Dead Wild Birds / Rescued Wild Birds

Advice for members of the public that find dead wild birds & advice for
people involved in rescue and rehabilitation of birds

The purpose of this document is to provide advice to people who come across dead wild birds or who are involved in the rescue/rehabilitation of wild birds. A separate advice document is available for people who handle wild birds on an ongoing basis, such as bird ringers.

Wild birds, like poultry, can become infected with the viruses that cause Avian Influenza (AI). Certain species of wild birds, in particular wild migratory water birds are at a higher risk of becoming infected with AI due to the fact that they travel the farthest, regularly gather in large numbers and mix with many other water bird species.

These birds are considered to be the natural reservoir of many different AI viruses many of which are relatively harmless to birds and other animals. However certain types of avian influenza viruses can cause illness and often death in both migratory and native wild bird species and in poultry and captive bird species. In rare cases, some highly pathogenic strains and some low pathogenic strains can cause disease in humans but and such cases have been associated with close contact with infected birds.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) monitors the occurrence of
Avian Influenza in poultry and wild birds in Europe on an ongoing basis in order to assess the risk to Ireland.

A list of the wild bird species that are at highest risk of being infected is
available to view at: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/15675-measures-to-reduce-the-riskof-introduction-of-avian-influenza/#information-and-advice-on-avian-influenza-in-wild-birds

Current situation with Avian Influenza H5N1 and information on public health risk

In November 2021 the Department detected a strain of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza
(HPAI) H5N1 in a peregrine falcon found in Galway. This strain of H5N1 has not associated with human infections in Europe to date and the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre(HSE-HPSC) have advised that the risk to public health from H5N1 avian influenza is very low.

In addition the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has determined that Avian Influenza HPAI H5N1 poses no food safety risk for consumers. What members of the public should do if they find a dead wild bird. Members of the public that find dead wild birds particularly water birds such as swans, geese, ducks, birds of prey or other dead wild birds that are on the high risk list mentioned above are advised not to handle the birds.

Updated 15/11/2021
They should report them to the DAFM by contacting their local Regional Veterinary Office of DAFM or the Avian Influenza Hotline at 076 106 4403 (office hours) or 1850 200 456 (outside of normal office hours).

The Department will endeavour to collect species that are on the high risk list and test them for avian influenza viruses. This will provide vital information on the disease by helping us to detect it as early as possible and understand how the disease is distributed geographically and in what species of bird.

If a member of the public does handle or come into contact with dead wild birds, then normal hygiene precautions should be taken i.e., disinfect hands using alcohol wipes for example or sure scrub hands thoroughly with soap and hot water.

Advice for people involved in rescue and rehabilitation of sick or injured wild birds.
People that rescue and care for sick or injured wild birds should be aware of avian influenza.

Birds displaying any symptoms of avian influenza including general depression or weakness of unknown origin should not be brought into rehabilitation centres where they could potentially spread the disease to other birds. Any wild birds displaying symptoms of avian influenza should be reported to DAFM as described above without delay. For all other symptoms of disease in wild birds they should contact their Private Veterinary Practitioner for advice. A description of the symptoms of avian influenza can be found here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/acacf-clinical-signs/

As birds can carry other diseases that are potentially transmissible to humans (e.g., bacteria such as Salmonella and Chlamydia) anyone handling birds should take appropriate hygiene precautions. This should include wearing disposable gloves, disposable or dedicated outerwear as well as taking care to always wash and disinfect hands after handling birds.

Further information on avian influenza can be found at:
https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/15675-measures-to-reduce-the-risk-of-introduction-ofavian-influenza/#advice-when-handing-dead-wild-birds

Waterford Parks successful at Green Frag Awards 2021

The 2021 Green Flag Awards were announced today, Wednesday, November 17th, by An Taisce Environmental Education, acknowledging Ireland’s best public parks and gardens.

Not alone has Waterford been successful in retaining its two Green Flags for the Waterford Greenway and Kilbarry Nature Park 2021/2022, but Kilbarry Nature Park was the overall winner in the Pollinator Projector Award.

International accreditation for public park excellence in Ireland has increased again this year, to reach over 100 accredited public green spaces. Ireland was today awarded a total of 103 Green Flag sites, comprised of 84 formal public Green Flag Park sites, along with 19 volunteer run Green Community Sites.

Three of the 2021 Green Flag Award winning parks were also identified by the National Biodiversity Data Centre for an additional Pollinator Plan Award. This award is specifically for those Green Flag Parks or Gardens that have made an effort to support their local pollinating insects, or to promote their importance. The Pollinator Plan Award is jointly run with An Taisce Environmental Education to support the All Ireland Pollinator Plan, and is sponsored by Young’s Nurseries.

While there are pollinator project awards across different park categories it was Kilbarry Nature Park, operated by Waterford City and County Council, that was the overall winner. This nature park is located upon the site of a rehabilitated landfill site, so it is great to see that a former environmental problem has evolved into an environmental asset.

 

Fergus Galvin, Director of Services Waterford City and County Council, highlighted the excellent work done by the presentation staff in securing this award, “Each member of the presentation team takes pride in the maintenance and appearance of our parks and open spaces, and this award is testament to the great effort shown by them.”

 

“These awards not only showcase the calibre of wonderful natural amenities that we have in Waterford, they also highlight the importance of shared public spaces as a place for people to relax and meet up safely outdoors, and experience the wonder of nature on our doorstep.”

 

2021 has also seen the successful roll-out of Green Heritage Site Accreditation across Ireland.

With the support of the NPWS and the Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage, 7 Irish Green Flag sites are now accredited to Green Heritage Accreditation standard. Green Heritage Site Accreditation is awarded to public green spaces of historical and cultural significance.

Once again more Green Flag Awards have been secured by Irish Parks and Gardens than by any country, other than the UK where the scheme originated in 1996.

This year participating countries include; Australia, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

The Green Flag Community Award extends the Scheme to include community initiatives such as Community Gardens, Community Parks, and Tidy Towns Projects. In Ireland the Green Flag Community Award Scheme is supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Solar Panels to reduce carbon emissions at Waterford Council depot

Consolidating its commitment to reducing CO2 emissions by 51% by 2030, Waterford City and County Council recently installed solar Photo Voltaic panels at its machinery yard depot in Dungarvan.

The installation includes 129 solar panels on the southerly facing roof of the machinery yard building.  The panels will supplement the yard’s and neighbouring Council depot’s electrical requirements and reduce 17 tonnes of CO2 being emitted to the environment, through the elimination of electricity being imported from the electrical grid.

The solar panels were installed by a Dungarvan Engineering company, Solar Evolution, which is working exclusively in the green economy and specialises in solar PV installations.

Brigid Walsh, Project Director with Solar Evolution said, “ We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Waterford City and County Council at their Dungarvan Council Depot. Their commitment to reducing emissions is matched by our passion to enable this with our design and construction of a roof mounted Solar PV system. We are eagerly anticipating monitoring the projects output and look forward to highlighting its contribution at both social and environmental levels.”

Liam Fleming, Executive Engineer with Waterford City and County Council Environment Department was pleased to partner with a local company in the Councils’ efforts to reduce carbon emissions and tap into a more sustainable energy source.

“Solar Evolution is an innovative local company that shares our vision of creating a more sustainable future and a green economy for future generations.  The installation of the solar panels here at the depot in Dungarvan is one of many steps that the Council intends to take to transition from a fossil fuel based economy to carbon neutrality through building energy efficiency and renewable energy generation.”

Funding of 30% was received from Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland under the Better Energy Communities Scheme to install the solar panel, with the grant funding application being coordinated through “Three Counties Energy Agency”.

SEAI is working with homeowners, businesses and communities to transform how the public generate and use energy.  Other measures being funded by SEAI that have been completed under this year’s grant award in Waterford include the installation EV charging points and insulations upgrades at the Depot and community building upgrades.

October is Ireland’s National Reuse Month

Reuse is about valuing our stuff, by using and reusing it for as long and as often as possible. This avoids the need to extract raw materials, manufacture and distribute new stuff, and avoids waste thereby cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions. Why not make a commitment to reuse as many things as possible to save the environment.


Upcoming local events


Conscious Cup workshop for businesses, Tidy Towns groups and others

7 pm, 19th October 2021:

Did you know that we discard over 22,000 single-use cups in Ireland every hour? Single use cups, whether they are biodegradable or compostable, still require vast amounts of natural resources to manufacture, which all impact negatively our environment. This virtual workshop will be led by Sorcha Kavanagh, coordinator of the Conscious Cup Campaign. It aims to give businesses information on the benefits of promoting and accepting reusable and upcoming changes that will take place with new legislation coming down the tracks. It will also inform community groups such as Tidy Towns groups how to can encourage local business in their towns and villages to sign up and accept reusables. Sorcha will demonstrate how simple it is for any business to get involved and in the campaign and how we in our communities can encourage this positive climate action. This event will take place at this Teams Link



Furniture Upcycling workshop with Marianne Heaphy

7 pm, 21st October 2021

This Introduction to Furniture Upcycling Workshop will start with how to prepare furniture for upcycling and detail all the materials that are needed. The techniques will include painting the furniture and achieving a beautiful spray-like finish. Decoupage using napkins and wallpaper will be demonstrated. Different options on revamping hardware will also be run through. To attend this event, simply visit this link



Sustainable Living

10 am, 2nd November 2021

A 2 hour workshop that helps people find easy and enjoyable ways to move towards more sustainable living. The course covers 3 craft topics so people can make their own soap, make their own wax wraps and make their own biodegradable pots by the end of the session. With Aoife Munn, Environmentalist and Horticulturist with a focus on sustainability through practical learning. Register now for this event at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/sustainable-living-2hr-workshop-waterford-city-county-council-tickets-177365213127



Also this Reuse Month: Sports Club Competition – for more information on how to reduce plastics at your sport club, see https://submit.link/rt Join Sports Clubs around the County and take a pledge to reduce single use plastic and be in with a chance to win 100 branded reusable bottles for your club. Sports clubs in Waterford are invited to register to take a pledge to reduce single use plastic at their club grounds. Once you pledge and register with Refill’s Tap Map, you will be sent a sign to place above your tap, along with a social media post about your pledge to let your members know about the work you are doing. You will also be entered into a draw to win 100 reusable bottles for your sports club, branded with your club logo. For further information see https://submit.link/rt


Upcycle Challenge

MyWaste are challenging you to unearth the imagination within and create something new out of something old…to breathe new life into an old or unwanted item or material. So if you can find something old and renovate it or turn it into something completely different but still usable then you can enter the Upcycle Challenge at https://www.mywaste.ie/upcycle-challenge21/

How can I get involved?
National Reuse Month’s aim is to inspire you and provide you with the skills and tools to reuse more at home, at work and at play.

Check out the MyWaste site for some tips and suggestions https://www.mywaste.ie/reuse-month/

Sustainable living workshop

Aoife Munn hosts a 2 hour workshop that helps people find easy and enjoyable ways to move towards more sustainable living.

Tuesday 2nd November 2021
10:00 – 12:00 GMT

It outlines some easy switches to make, key areas that have to be done, like avoiding chemicals. The course is lively and interactive and also covers 3 craft topics so people can make their own soap, make their own wax wraps and make their own biodegradable pots by the end of the session.

This workshop is open to people living in the Waterford area. The session will be held via zoom and login details will be sent out before the event. This is a joint initiative between Waterford City & County Council and Wexford County Council as part of a range of events taking place for Reuse Month.

https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/sustainable-living-2hr-workshop-waterford-city-county-council-tickets-177365213127

International E-Waste Day 14th Oct 2021

Ewaste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world. By 2030, global ewaste generated is projected to reach 74.7mn tonnes annually, the equivalent to 7,390 Eiffel towers. This International Ewaste Day #IEWD we are urging people to identify devices that are beyond repair and recycle them with WEEE Ireland.

‘Top of the City’ Community Garden a success

A previously derelict site on St Carthage’s Avenue has gone through a complete makeover over the last 18 months thanks to the successful cooperation between Waterford City and County Council, community garden members and local businesses.

The project kicked off after a call from Mary Quigley, Administration Officer with the Council’s Property Management Department, who was eager to support the proposed project from the very beginning, and who suggested the name of the garden: ‘Top of the City’. Cllr Eamon Quinlan (FF) has been also passionately backing the project from the very beginning, supporting the garden in its rapid development.

Fairybush Landscaping, courtesy of Waterford City and County Council, cleared half of the land that was transformed into a growing area and an oasis of calm and tranquillity. The other half was cleared by passionate volunteers during the first lockdown, providing a safe outdoor space for engaging with nature, organising community events and marketing locally produced breads, eggs and vegetables. ‘The Forgotten Barracks’ – a documentary about the history of the garden, which is located in between the external and internal walls of the old Artillery Barracks, was released by the ‘Top of the City’ members during the Heritage Week in August 2021.

The garden on St Carthage’s Avenue is an example of the most perfect platform for cooperation between local authorities and community members. Anti-social behaviour has been significantly reduced due to the positive response to the project, supported by the cooperation with local Garda Station, who patrolled St Carthage’s Avenue more frequently.

There are plans of developing ‘Top of the City’ Garden even further in order to provide opportunities for the residents of the locality, especially those living in the nearest neighbourhood designated as disadvantaged.

Furniture Upcycling workshop with Marianne Heaphy

Join us for a fun introduction to furniture upcycling with Marianne of The Revamp Tramp at 7pm 21st October, as part of Reuse Month.

This free Introduction to Furniture Upcycling Workshop will start with how to prepare furniture for upcycling and detail all the materials that are needed. The techniques will include painting the furniture and achieving a beautiful spray-like finish. Decoupage using napkins and wallpaper will be demonstrated. Different options on revamping hardware will also be run through.

This event will take place online via MS Teams at https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_ZDQzYTFjNzktMzI2Yi00ODIyLTg2MzctYjA4ZmVmNzE3Mzdi%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%22fa6e1e23-c190-48ea-9570-2cb34708e857%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%223038be14-1af2-4539-add8-a349749d62cd%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d&btype=a&role=a.

Picker Pals Litter-Picking Programmes continues to grow in Waterford

Mayor of City and County of Waterford, Cllr. Joe Kelly, is giving his full support to the roll out of Picker Pals, a litter-picking primary schools programme in Waterford.

This year the programme will grow from the 10 classrooms that took part last year to 36 classrooms this year.  The programme, run by environmental NGO VOICE (Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment) has been a great success to date and thanks to the support of Waterford City and County Council and the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, the organisers are looking for schools in Waterford to get involved this year.

Speaking at the launch of this programme at the Presentation Primary School, Cllr Joe Kelly, Mayor of City and County of Waterford said, “We all see the effects that litter can have on our local areas.  Raising awareness and taking real action are essential parts of the solution. This Picker Pals programme gives young people the tools and positive motivation to develop stewardship of their local environments.  By taking the message home with them and carrying out a cleanup of their area, they are both helping to spread the message and care for their environment.”

Using upcycled and fully reusable packaging, Picker Pals provide each classroom with bespoke story and activity books, in both Irish and English, and picker-uppers which are taken home by a different child every week.  Each child goes on a litter-picking adventure in their local area with their family and reports back to their classmates on their activity.

Children’s book author and creator of the Picker Pals programme, Patrick Jackson said, “If we can influence children at this key age, we have a chance of tackling the litter crisis.  Picker Pals creates a positive mindset in children and families around the issue of litter and their own power to make a difference.”

“The Picker Pals programme supplements our existing litter education programme for schools and has been especially valuable during the last few months” said Ella Ryan, Environmental Awareness Officer at Waterford City and County Council.  “It helps children to understand how they can make simple, positive changes in their own neighbourhood.”

Teachers and Principals are also very enthusiastic about the programme. Niamh Curry, 1st class Teacher at Presentation Primary school, Waterford city said, “My class took part in the picker pals initiative last year and it was a fantastic experience with parents and children alike really enjoying it.  One parent and pupil bumped into the residence committee while out litter-picking and from that they have decided to organise a weekly clean up for their estate and my pupil can be in charge of it. Thank you so much for this programme and I would highly recommend spreading it out to all schools, if possible.”

If you would like to get involved please register your interest here or check out the Picker Pals website https://pickerpalsworld.org/