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Bord na Móna Goes Back to School with the Eco Rangers Programme

Bord na Móna's Eco Rangers schools programme is one of a range of communication and engagement events promoting value of biodiversity as part of Bord na Móna's Biodiversity Action Plan 2016-2021.

The project, which is facilitated by Real Nation, aims to reconnect children with nature and teaches them the importance of protecting nature through a series of educational and fun elements. Teachers are provided with all the tools they need such as teachers’ packs, lesson plans and games. This enables classes to embark on Eco Safaris where they can map out nature trails, look at and investigate flora and fauna, take photos or draw pictures and document what they see. Children are encouraged to creatively connect with nature through with each school developing their own bespoke nature table.

Bord na Mona Eco Rangers Leaflet

Commenting on the initiative, Orla Kane Strategy Planning, Corporate Social Responsibility and Marketing Manager at Bord na Móna said: "At Bord na Móna, our ethos focuses on being more Naturally Driven to provide a sustainable future and through the Eco Rangers programmes we’re able to get down to a grass roots level by encouraging children to reconnect with nature and recognise the importance of protecting our land."

"It’s essential that we all try our best to conserve resources and through Eco Rangers, children will not only learn how to conserve it but they will also learn about different habitats and ecosystems and recognise the importance of protecting them to eventually become Guardians of the Land. We’re delighted to say that while the emphasis is on schools to participate in Eco Rangers, the programme can also be used by the children with their families in their local communities around Ireland," she added.

200 schools and over 20,000 children have participated in the programme which is now in its second year on the primary school education syllabus. Eco Rangers is suitable for all primary school classes from junior infants through to sixth class and is ideal for mixed ability groups.

Teacher Liadhan Kelly of Scoil Bhríde Ballyboy said: "we are lucky to be surrounded by an abundance of beautiful natural habitats. Nestled at the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, with Lough Boora Parklands only a stone’s throw away, the children are exposed to the beauty of nature on a daily basis."
"We as a school community...recognise the importance of fostering this love of nature, encouraging the children to spend time outdoors on school activities."

According to Paula Porter of St. Laurence’s National School, Co. Kildare ‘the kids loved learning about plants, trees, animals and habitats. The Eco Ranger programme encourages kids to get close to nature, go on nature walks and have fun learning outdoors. "

Teacher Louise Kennedy said: “The pupils have greatly enjoyed participating in the Eco Rangers programme. It provided an engaging and active learning opportunity which enabled the pupils to seek out and identify wildlife within our school grounds and local area. They had fun working together in lessons and developed their appreciation of our natural environment.”

Eco Rangers is one of a number of ways in which Bord na Móna engages with and supports primary and secondary schools. Since 1995 Bord na Móna have sponsored the Science Student of the Year Award for an outstanding 6th Year student in the area of science. The award includes a bursary to cover the cost of textbooks in the first year of college. Since 2015 Bord na Móna have also sponsored the Liam O’ Connell schools debate.

Working in partnership with Birr Community School Trust the company have preserved a site at Killaun Bog in Offaly as a conservation area that is used as an educational facility where the biodiversity of varying could be studied and monitored over time.

Eco Rangers is nominated for the Environment award in the Large Indigenous Company Category at the Chambers Ireland Corporate Social Responsibility Awards 2017.