Cork students learn about climate change virtually thanks to online EPA workshops


EPA Director Gerard O’Leary with students from Cappabue National School

Students from 4 Cork primary schools joined 20 schools nationwide whose students had the opportunity to learn about climate change during Science Week thanks to expert volunteers from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

28 EPA volunteers guided more than 800 students through virtual climate change workshops over the course of Science Week. These workshops were developed by JA in conjunction with the EPA and were delivered online as part of an exciting blended learning experience. Participating schools in Cork included: Scoil Barra, Ballincollig, Cappabue National School, Gaelscoil Ui Riordáin, Ballincollig and Beaumont Boys School.

Through hands-on activities students analysed their carbon footprint and completed an energy audit of the classroom, allowing them to evaluate the human impact of their class. The students learned that Irish people have amongst the highest greenhouse gas emissions level per person in the developed world but we can work together to reduce our impact.

However, once they understood their impact, the students were then able to brainstorm ways in which they could collectively and individually reduce their impact on climate change.

Norma Healy, Principal of Cappabue National School, Kilnaknappoge, Co. Cork, commented on her school’s experience: “Our students thoroughly enjoyed the EPA environmental workshop, the content showed how the students could have a positive impact on the world around them in a fun and accessible manner. We are very passionate about Climate Change in Cappabue National School and we are delighted to have our climate change song included in the workshops. The virtual format worked really well and the level of engagement with the topic and our expert volunteer from the EPA was fantastic.”

The EPA environmental workshop is just one of many opportunities afforded to students thanks to the EPA’s support of JAI since 2016. In that time 161 volunteers have reached 3,500 young people through Junior Achievement (JA) programmes designed to encourage young people to remain in education and help them to develop the skills they need to succeed in a changing world.

Gerard O’Leary, EPA Director said: “The EPA is delighted to partner with Junior Achievement Ireland during science week in order to create environmental awareness among primary school children participating in JA programmes in schools around the country. The workshops are fun and an inventive way of engaging with these issues at primary school level.”