Staff and students of the school will be leaving the car at home or a distance from the school to participate in the initiative, which is being facilitated by An Taisce Green-Schools and supported by Clare County Council.
Having saved 2,650,000 litres of water from 2011 to 2014 while working on the Green-Schools Water Flag, one of three Flags held by Coláiste Muire, the school is now working on securing the Travel Flag.
The Travel Flag encourages students, parents and teachers to walk, cycle, car-pool, Park N’ Stride or use public transport on the school run.
“At present over 65% of their 860 pupils at Coláiste Muire are arriving to school in a car so the school has taken on the Green-Schools Travel flag with great enthusiasm,” commented Róisín Garvey, Travel Education Officer with An Taisce Green-Schools.
Ms. Garvey, who works with all Clare schools that have progressed to their fourth Green Flag, the Travel Flag, continued: “I have been working with the school since last September running workshops on traffic congestion solutions and climate change with staff, parents and student groups. The staff have committed to cycle training and many teachers are making links in their curricular areas as well.”
“The Green-Schools committee has been working hard having designed posters, car stickers, a Facebook page and fundraisers to make their work on the Travel Flag successful. They are getting great support from the Student Representative council, Catriona Burke, the Green-Schools coordinator, Jean Pound the Principal, all the staff and the Parents Council at the school. Friday’s Car Free Day event is a real opportunity to reduce the traffic congestion at the school gates,” said Ms. Garvey.
Barry Keating, Road Safety Officer with Clare County Council stated: “I commend the students of Coláiste Muire for embracing their fourth Green Flag and the staff for promoting the importance of Environmental Education and Awareness in the school. We have seen the positive effects of these types of initiatives at the Holy Family Schools and at Ennis National School which have helped to alleviate traffic congestion around the town during the morning drop-off time.”
“To encourage parents to do this Róisín Garvey and the Green-Schools committee have come up with a ‘Fresh Air Friday’ car window sticker featuring the school logo. Parents with this sticker will be provided with free car parking at Council carparks until 10am to support this initiative,” concluded Mr. Keating.
School Principal Jean Pound commented: “it is a fantastic opportunity for the whole school community to demonstrate our commitment to the environment while at the same time embracing a healthier lifestyle choice, and easing the traffic problems at our school gate”.