AN TAISCE-GREEN SCHOOLS, IRELAND
An Taisce-The National Trust for Ireland aims to protect and preserve the natural and built heritage of Ireland. An Taisce has three units that focus on property, advocacy and education The organization has over 50 members of staff. The An Taisce Environmental Education Unit delivers a number of Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) programmes including the Green-Schools Ireland programme – known internationally as Eco-Schools.
Green-Schools is a thematic programme in which schools volunteer to participate – each theme takes two academic years to implement. On successful implementation of each theme, a school will receive a Green Flag. There are over 3000 schools registered on the programme. Green-Schools Travel is the fourth theme in the programme which aims to encourage students, parents and teachers to walk, cycle, scoot, use the bus, carpool or park ‘n’ stride instead of the private car on the journey to school. Green-Schools Travel employs over 20 Travel Officers and has over ten years experience working with schools, the wider school community and various stakeholders to implement sustainable travel actions that reduce the number of private cars arriving at the school gate.
KEY PERSONS INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT:
Damien O’Tuama is the National Cycling Coordinator for Cyclist.ie and An Taisce. Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network is a federation of 25 local cycling advocacy groups on the island of Ireland
including greenway and festival groups, while An Taisce is the National Trust for Ireland which includes Green Schools. Damien’s work focuses on coordinating the efforts of many groups and individuals to help normalize everyday cycling in Ireland for all ages and abilities. It includes representing cyclists’ interests in media debates, drafting submissions in response to statutory consultation processes, organizing events (as part of National Bike Week and European Mobility Week for example) including the Annual Cycling Lecture, monthly public meetings etc. He is a Vice-President of the European Cyclists’ Federation since May 2016. Damien complements his advocacy work with research and freelance consultancy in the transport and environmental spheres.
Jane Hackett is the National Manager of the Green-Schools Travel programme. She manages a team of 27 staff who work with schools throughout Ireland to increase the number of children who walk and cycle to school. The programme has reached over 1,800 schools since 2008 and has engaged over 400,000 students and
35,000 teachers. Jane is passionate about all aspects of sustainability and has worked previously as a Sustainability Consultant, Town Planner and an Environmental Educator. Jane is an avid cyclist and is known to cycle a cargo bike, a fold-up bike as well as using an adult scooter. Her motto is any mode of transport except the car!