Environmental Sustainability and Education


Veronica Lavin


Thomond Community College is an Irish second-level school in Ireland, with kids from 12 to 18, coming from diverse backgrounds, both culturally and socially.

The school is aiming for its Global Citizenship and Energy Flag, reflecting their commitment to sustainability and environmental education.

Student projects
  • The ongoing Choill Bheag Project of tree plantations was expanded after CESU2022, with the planting of 100 new native trees on school grounds.
  • The students built a Geodome greenhouse for a school vegetable garden, which they are planting.
Curriculum Changes

Since CESU 2022, Thomond Community College has integrated numerous positive changes into their curriculum:

  • Garden Design Module: Introduced in September 2022 for Leaving Certificate Applied students, this optional module has seen high enrollment and enthusiastic participation.
  • Environment and Social Education: A 10-week rotation of environment and social education for 4th-year students, in addition to completing the ClimateRewrite program, fosters environmental awareness and social responsibility.
  • Raising awareness of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): All subject departments now reference the UN SDGs in their plans, ensuring sustainability is embedded across the curriculum.
  • The Limerick and Clare Education & Training Board (LCETB) has established a Climate Action and Sustainability group across all its schools and educational centers. This team is currently focused on energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives.
Challenges and Overcoming Obstacles
While our journey has been marked by significant achievements, we have faced several challenges:
  • Time and Knowledge: Balancing academic and extracurricular activities while building expertise in sustainability.
  • Growing Season vs. School Holidays: The peak growing season coincides with school holidays, complicating plant care and maintenance.
  • Weather: Ireland’s unpredictable weather, including prolonged rain, has impacted our planting and growing activities.
  • Sustaining Support: Maintaining the enthusiasm and support of management and teachers is crucial, especially to prevent climate fatigue as we introduce more initiatives.

Despite these challenges, the support from CESU 2022 and our school community has been invaluable. We continue to innovate and adapt, ensuring that sustainability remains a core focus of our educational mission.