Tag Archives: Biodiversity

The Pip Project

3rd Class Room 14 are doing a ‘Pip Project’.

The children are really enthusiastic and it has really taken off.

First the children were invited to plant any pips from the fruit they had for their lunches.

Saorla found some mystery seeds in the yard and we have planted them.

Perhaps we will end up with a bean stalk 😉

Sam brought in an avocado seed. They need to be suspended in water.

Sam also brought in chive seeds.

We are also growing peas.

Teacher brought in nasturtium seeds. They are growing well.

We are interested to see how they follow the sun

and lean towards the light.

Teacher brought in chestnuts.

We discovered in order for chestnuts to germinate

they need to be kept in soil, in a bag in the fridge.

We have had some successes.

The apple seedlings are growing well.

However in the pot were the mandarin seeds were planted,

grass grew. We are a bit mystified by this.

What happened when wolves were reintroduced to a habitat – from ‘Sustainable Human’

When we were working towards the Green Flag for Biodiversity we learned what would happen if snow leopards became extinct. What would happen if the snow leopard was removed from a food chain. The results would be devastating for an ecosystem. You can read about that HERE

Happily this next video (from Sustainable Human) is a good news story. In 1995, fourteen wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the USA. The wolves had been extinct there since 1926. Watch what happened next. We think it’s amazing!

How Wolves Change Rivers from Sustainable Human on Vimeo.

The Gardening Committee have done it AGAIN

MANY, MANY THANKS to the Parents’ Association’s Gardening Committee. They make the school year so interesting for us and great fun. Today they organised us planting vegetables in the school garden. Take a look at the slide show below to see more. Thanks to Ms. Murray for taking the photographs. Click on THIS LINK to see other posts about gardening in the school.

‘Spring Alive’ website – encouraging children’s interest in nature and migratory birds

What a great website!

Spring Alive is an international project to encourage children’s interest in nature and the conservation of migratory birds and to get them to take action for birds and other wildlife…’
There are games and colouring activities on the website too. Click HERE to see.

Lavandera blanca (Motacilla alba) Pedro Luna Guillen via Compfight

Project Hyacinth

Day 365+7 Wouter de Bruijn via Compfight
In every classroom in the school ‘PROJECT HYACINTH’ has started to bloom. In late November, the parents from the Gardening Committee delivered a hyacinth bulb to every classroom. They have been sitting in water in glass jars under little cardboard ‘hats’ to fool them into blooming. The first thing we noticed were little white roots growing down into the water. If we lift the ‘hats’ we can see a little green shoot. We are excited to have the hyacinths growing in our classrooms. We wonder what colour ours will be. We would like to thank the Gardening Committee for our hyacinths: ‘the gift that keeps on giving’.
Click on THIS LINK to see the beginning of the story and HERE to see February’s update.

A New Arrival to Our School Grounds – A Beautiful Silver Birch


Renewed thanks to our exceptional gardening committee. They are forever coming up with great ideas to make our school an even better place to be. As well as looking after the school grounds, they do so much more.

  • For example they showed students how to grow vegetables and harvested them.
  • They have created a special outdoor classroom.
  • They commissioned a ‘Buddy Bench’ (made from recycled wooden pallets) where children who have no one to play with can sit until their friends find them.
  • The Gardening Committee caused great excitement when they put a special Halloween scarecrow in the school garden.
  • In this bleak mid winter, they gave each class a hyacinth for the teacher’s desk to bring sunshine to our classrooms.
  • Recently they planted a silver birch trees in the school grounds. Michael the school caretaker helped.

We think the silver birch was a great choice as it is beautiful all year round.

  • In Winter, even though it is deciduous and has no leaves the colour of its bark and the patterns on it are beautiful.
  • In Spring the leaves are a fresh light green and these darken as the year turns to Summer.
  • Then in Autumn the silver birch is colourful with vibrant yellow leaves.
  • Then there are the 500 or so insect species that use the silver birch as a habitat all year round.

Many thanks to the Gardening Committee for another super addition to our school grounds.

We have very little space, but with thought and imagination it has been made a much greener and better place to be.

Trees in our School Grounds – The Umbrella Tree


We have an Umbrella Tree in our school yard. In the Summer when there are lots of leaves, it really works. If you go under it when it is raining you stay dry.

We think it is a weeping willow. It is very beautiful. In Spring there are catkins on the tree. Catkins are furry flowering spikes that hang down. They are soft to touch, but much better not to pick them but to leave them to grow. The catkins fall off and the leaves grow then. It is a good looking and interesting tree.

Have you heard about the ‘Mountain of the Butterflies’?

This is a link to today’s Google Doodle commemorating the 41st anniversary of the discovery of the mountain of the butterflies.

It was in 1975 that the overwintering place of the monarch butterfly was discovered. The butterflies were found inthe Sierra Madre Mountains in Eastern Mexico. You can read more about how the millions of monarchs cling to the oyamel trees here.image


The monarch butterfly is under threat due to climate change and destruction of forests in Mexico, where the species migrates to from the the US and Canada in winter.

Good Things That Happened When Wolves Reintroduced To A Habitat

Hungry like the...
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Valerie via Compfight

When we were learning about Biodiversity earlier in the year, we learned a lot about food webs and food chains.. Then we learned about the snow leopard. We learned what would happen to its food web and its habitat if it became extinct.

We found a really interesting video that we think you may be interested in. It is on Vimeo so you can watch it in class. Made by Greg Haines, it tells about the good things that happened to the food web and the habitat in Yellowstone Park when wolves were reintroduced. We think you will like it.

Green Schools: Biodiversity: Can we help you?


We feel this blog could be helpful for other schools

that are starting out working towards the 5th Green Flag.

On this blog you can see some ideas

that you might find useful.

e.g. our mascot: Brigid the Biodiversity Bee,

adopting Qeimo the Snow Leopard

and collaborating with other schools.

For example, we had an ‘Eat Locally Day’ and a ‘Less Waste Day’ in parallel with a school in Belgium.

St. Peter’s in Bray sent us Polly the Polar Bear so we can learn about threats to both this species.

All these activities are recorded in our blog.

Put any of the highlighted words from above in the search box

and you can read all about them.

Green Schools: Biodiversity: How to use this blog

Vegetable garden

We’ve been busy 🙂

Our Green Schools Blog was set up by the Green Schools Committee.

It plays a central role in our Greens Schools project.

This is a whole school project in which we learn about Biodiversity,

how to protect it

and how to encourage it in our school grounds,

our own gardens

and our neighbourhood

in order to earn a Green Flag for Biodiversity


The blog is a greener, paperless way of communicating

and works like a filing system for students, parents and teachers.


All you have to do is put a keyword

like food web, birds, mammals

or pollination in the search box

on the top right hand side of this page


to find the information you are looking for.

Try it and see 😉

Green Schools: Biodiversity: Brigid the Biodiversity Bee got a surprise in the post from The Summer Buzz Bee!

Brigid the Biodiversity Bee got a surprise this week.


A package arrived in school addressed to her.

It was the first time she ever got anything in

the post and she was terribly excited.


It was from a good friend of ours. Her name is

The Summer Buzz Bee.  Brigid is on an mission.

Her mission is to help children learn about


Summer Buzz is on an important mission too.

She encourages children to love books and to read.


The Summer Buzz Bee knows all about Brigid

and knew exactly what she would be interested in.


She sent her a book about how kids can be green.


And a book about an ant and a honey bee.


Summer Buzz says Brigid can leave these books in

the school library when she is finished with them.

Summer Buzz is very kind.

Thank you Summer Buzz.

Green Schools: Biodiversity: Joint Project between St. Brigid’s, Greystones and St. Peter’s, Bray

Polly the Polar Bear from St. Peter’s, Bray came to visit us in St. Brigid’s.

You can read about the beginning of that adventure here.

Polly told us all about Polar Bears and why Polar Bears are endangered.

Now Polly has returned to St.Peter’s bringing our mascot

Brigid the Biodiversity Bee with her.

Brigid the Biodiversity Bee


Green Schools: Biodiversity: Guest Post: Growing Monterey Pine Trees From Seed

Growing Monterey Pine Trees From Seed

by Emily H


My project is to show how I grew Monterey pines from seed.

I did this project because I have always had an interest in growing things from a very young age.

It was helped along when my Granddad contacted the former Mayor George Jones

to see if he would be interested in having some of the trees I had already planted

and succeeded in growing for the Greystones community.


Mr Jones agreed and now as you can see from press cuttings.

there is one of my trees in Burnaby Park opposite the train station

BeFunky_Burnaby Park.jpg

and also they took some of my trees and planted them along Shoreline car park.

BeFunky_Burnaby Park.jpg

I am very proud of these trees and so I thought that I could grow some more for my science project for school


Gather pine cones and place them in the full sun to dry them out. Once dried they will open up for easier retrieval of the seeds.

BeFunky_Monterey Pine Cone.jpg

Place the cones on a paper towel and roll them gently until the seeds fall out.


Place the seeds in a container with room temperature of water.

The ones that sink will be the best growers.

Plant the seed in pots, pointed end down and cover with soil.

Keep watering and when the seeds fall off they can be transplanted to a larger container.

I will be keeping a diary following the progress of the trees.

Day 1

Date : 12.6.13

I planted the seeds in the compost pointed side down and watered them.

Day 2

Date : 13.6.13

Still no progress will be back in 2 weeks.

Day 11

Date : 25.6.13

We have our first Monterey shoot. The seed is still on the top.

BeFunky_First shoot.jpg

Day 12 

Date : 26.6.13

We have our second seed shoot. Also seed on top, First seedling has now lost its seed.


Day 19

Date: 3.7.13

We now have 13 Monterey pine tree shoots.

BeFunky_Day 19.jpg

Day 25

Date: 9.7.13

We have 17 Monterey pine tree shoots.

Day 35

Date: 19.7.13

BeFunky_Day 45.jpg

The trees are growing fast.

Day 45

Date: 29.7.13

Still progressing well.

Day 55

Date: 8.8.13 

Strong and healthy trees growing fast.

BeFunky_Day 65.jpg 

Day 65

Date: 18.8.13

Progressing well.

Day 75

Date: 28.8.13

Nearing end of project the trees are strong and healthy.

BeFunky_Day 75.jpg

About Monterey Pines

The Monterey pine, also known as the Radiata pine is a species of pine native to the coast of California. It’s the most widely planted pine in the world, valued for rapid growth and desirable lumber and pulp qualities.

Its native to 3 very limited areas located in Santa Cruz, Monterey peninsula, and San Luis Obispo counties. In Australia, New Zealand and Spain it is the leading introduced tree and in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Kenya and South Africa it is a major plantation species.

Monterey pine has a very small natural range on the central Californian coast, south of San Fransico and on Guadalupe and Cerdros islands off the coast of Baja California in Mexico.

Monterey pine grows best on deep, rich, dry soils or on infertile sandy soil types. It has also shown promise on old red sandstone soil in Munster. It will not do well on wet, shallow ground. It grows vigorously and is known to have a longer growing season than other conifers. In Ireland, Monterey’s commonly suffers from the ”yellows”, a disease sometimes associated with the fungus cyclaneusma minus which results in the yellowing and loss of all the previous years’ needles.

Photo Credit: Wendy Cutler via Compfight


I found this project very satisfying because I enjoy growing and the output of this project will have a long term effect on the environment.

They help the environment by a number of factors:

1)     Trees reduce Carbon Dioxide – the same way humans breathe oxygen and exhale Carbon Dioxide, trees breathe in Carbon Dioxide and exhale Oxygen.  This Carbon Dioxide becomes sugars that can be eaten, burnt for fuel or enjoyed in its leafy form.

2)     Trees reduce ozone levels – In  large cities a reduction in ozone can mean milder temperatures and more breathable air.

3)     Trees reduce erosion by their roots keeping soil from washing away but also they absorb and store water.

4)     Trees provide an ecosystem for animals and insects  by providing a home and  food for them.

Every tree is a potential life-saver to certain species


Well done Emily. Thank you for making Greystones a better place.