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Tralee school wins €10,000 biodiversity garden in Applegreen BioDive competition

L-R Rian Murphy and Sadhbh O'Donnell with Éanna Ní Lamhna, BioDive Ambassador. Pic Julien Behal Photography

Campaign designed to build awareness among primary school children, their families, and local communities about the importance of biodiversity in Ireland



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16 June 2022

Spa National School in Tralee, Co. Kerry has been named the overall winner of Applegreen’s BioDive sticker collection competition, in association with the education organisation Biodiversity in Schools.

The school was chosen from 120 other schools to win a biodiversity garden worth €10,000 by completing a classroom poster with stickers of native Irish animals, insects, and plant life. The initiative, which saw more than 1,000 schools apply to take part, was run by Applegreen, the leading Irish roadside retailer.

Applegreen’s BioDive campaign is designed to build awareness among primary school children, their families, and local communities about the importance of biodiversity in Ireland. The initiative featured 120 collectible stickers to help students recognise distinct native flora and fauna.

Although national school’s registrations to take part were in excess of 1,000 in the Republic of Ireland, spaces were limited to 124 schools – this figure ensured that every participating school could partner with a local Applegreen outlet. The 124 shortlisted schools each received a special BioDive classroom learning pack designed by Applegreen in collaboration with the national education organisation Biodiversity in Schools.

“It’s been a lot of fun and incredibly rewarding for everyone who’s been involved,” said Clare Killeen, Applegreen’s head of ESG, “more than 1,000 schools registered to take part which is incredible and really shows the level of interest in Irish biodiversity.”

Spa National School fully completed the BioDive poster with stickers of 120 native Irish species and was selected at random by Applegreen under assurance of external watchdog, Arthur Cox. The school’s Principal, Peter Linehan, said the entire school is looking forward to helping install its top prize of a biodiversity garden worth €10,000.

“Our entire school community worked together to collect all 120 BioDive stickers from our local Applegreen stores,” said Linehan. “We are thrilled to have won and can’t wait to get started on our biodiversity garden. The pupils have some great design ideas for the garden and we are all very excited to welcome some new species to our school grounds as we continue our biodiversity support and education.”

Spa National School is an active Green School and has been awarded four separate flags, including the biodiversity green flag by An Taisce for its environmental efforts. Applegreen’s BioDive ambassador, Éanna Ní Lamhna, said the Tralee school is a worthy winner of the BioDive campaign and can inspire other schools and students to take an interest in Irish biodiversity.

“We’ve had such fun with our BioDive initiative, and it’s been uplifting to see the enthusiasm from schools around Ireland,” Ní Lamhna said. “By empowering young people with knowledge, we can help them spread the word about the urgent need for greater biodiversity which is good for local communities and for the planet.

“Having visited a few participating schools, I’ve been so impressed with the positive impact of BioDive,” Éanna said. “It has really caught the imagination and brought teachers, students and even their families together in the spirit of collaboration. Well done to everyone who took part!”

In addition to the overall winning prize of a €10,000 biodiversity garden, 10 schools will receive runners-up prizes of full day biodiversity workshops for their school which will be delivered by the team at Biodiversity in schools.

“We’re very proud of the success of BioDive and the impact it has had on participating schools and communities,” said Applegreen’s Clare Killeen. “The huge response from schools shows that the next generation is passionate about biodiversity and, as an organisation with a strong sustainability agenda, Applegreen is delighted to foster and encourage that passion.”

BioDive is just one aspect of Applegreen’s sustainability programme as the company continues transitioning towards a net zero carbon future. The roadside retailer is also investing in 100% renewable energy across its Irish operations; transitioning its company fleet to EV; developing zero food-waste programmes across stores; and planting 300,000 native trees around Ireland by 2023.

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