Greystones Junior Tidy Towns initiative, is a subcommittee of Greystones Tidy Towns with an energetic team of local parents and teachers. Jr TT’s mission is to support youth-focused STEM and Heritage education as well as bolstering the Green Flag and sustainability programmes at our local schools.
We have found Junior Tidy Town to be a very exciting way to integrate and strengthen the overall school/community relationship while giving children a fun way to learn and connect with their peers and their local and global environment.
Our vision is to serve as a conduit for community-wide collaboration on issues such as climate action and biodiversity. We also hope to be an enjoyable platform that lets families contribute and see the impact that their stewardship has on their environment. Junior Tidy Towns, where relevant and possible, will help schools provide materials, kits, and educational support for students to create their own projects.
Junior Tidy Towns is proud to currently have all of the area primary schools formally involved in our project. We look forward to beach cleans, planting pollinator friendly gardens, participating in ecology related citizen science, and making difference in climate change. Contact us to learn more, or sign up to our Junior Tidy Towns Newsletter.
- Green Schools Ireland – https://greenschoolsireland.org/
- All Ireland Pollinator Plan – https://pollinators.ie/
- National Biodiversity Data Centre – https://biodiversityireland.ie/
- Tree Council of Ireland – https://www.treecouncil.ie/
- Birdwatch Ireland – https://birdwatchireland.ie/
- Biodiversity Scavenger Hunts – https://greystonestidytowns.ie/2022/02/greystones-jrtt-scavenger-hunts/
Useful Books for Juniors
- Gardening for Biodiversity – https://laois.ie/wp-content/uploads/Garden-Wildlife-Booklet-WEB-17MB.pdf
- Garraíodóireacht ar son na Bithéagsúlachta – https://laois.ie/wp-content/uploads/Gardening-for-biodiversity-Irish-WEB_compressed-FINAL.pdf
- Wild Things At School – https://www.heritageinschools.ie/content/resources/Wild_Things_at_School.pdf
Recent Junior Activities
Junior Tidy Towns is a collaborative group connecting our primary age families, schools and youth groups within Greystones and Delgany, allowing sharing of knowledge, resources and support. We have used the 2021 Biodiversity Action Plan created by Faith Wilson to guide our activities and focus our resource creation where possible.
Junior Tidy Towns Beach Clean Kit: We have updated our beach clean kit to remove obstacles to groups carrying out litter picks either at the local beaches, in their schools or any local areas. The beach kit now includes an information sheet, adult litter pickers, 60 mini pickers (allowing a full school year to carry out a pick at one time), bin rings, bags, first aid kit, story books along the theme of clean ups (Bruscar and Peigi’s Adventures in Science created by Science Ireland) and identification books and swatches to assist in carrying out explorations of the local biodiversity and recording any discoveries to the National Biodiversity Data Centre all in a soft carry, easy to transport bag.
Junior Tidy Towns Scavenger Hunts: Following the ethos of “you protect what you love”, the Junior Tidy Towns Scavenger Hunts have been created to allow families and youth groups explore their local areas and learn about Greystones specific biodiversity and heritage. The hunts include local walks, countryside and town, shoreline exploration and even an Invasive Species Detective hunt among others.
Junior Tidy Towns Biodiversity “Grab & Go” Bags: Supported by the Clean Coasts Ireland grant, and discounts on costs from Wild by Water Ireland and Greystones Village Bookshop JrTT have created our Biodiversity “Grab & Go” Bags. Each local primary school has been provided with one bag containing a Biodiversity Ireland Native Trees Swatch, Wildflowers of Ireland Field Guide, and a Shoreline Field Guide. Teachers grab the bag when out exploring, on nature walks, litter picks, playground visits and have all the identification details they need to turn their outing into a mini citizen science biodiversity adventure. We hope to add to the contents of this bag as needed and have applied to the National Parks and Wildlife Service Grants for Small Recording Projects 2022 to add additional ID swatches and the birds of Ireland field guide.
1,000 Trees: JrTT members were delighted to take part in the Neighbourwood planting adjacent to Shoreline and included two oak saplings which had been grown from acorns germinated within St Brigid’s primary school prior to the pandemic. (Assumption is that this will have it’s own section so not much to add here)
All Ireland Pollinator Plan: Our JrTT members are very strong in their support of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan. Greystones Tidy Towns was able to support this with a donation of pollinator friendly bulbs to all our local schools this year. We also continue to support awareness of the importance of our wild and solitary pollinators with education pieces shared around Gardening for Biodiversity, No Mow May, creating long and short meadows and encouraging knowledge of our wild flowers which have an important place in the native food webs. Schools linked in with the SuperValu Save the Bees initiative and have been collecting the info cards to complete their poster entries for the schools competition.
Facebook Group & WhatsApp Group: Our Junior Tidy Towns facebook group and WhatsApp group have been created to allow an open communication path between any interested participants. Allowing space for questions and connections. Our Facebook group supports events from Birdwatch Ireland’s Garden Bird Survey, to the Native Woodland Trusts “Wych Hunt”, promoting young women environmentalists on International Women’s Day and Bike Week events.
Greystones Tidy Towns Go Gold for Ukraine: Sunflower seeds supplied by GTT have been shared on to the local primary schools and scout groups to connect the support for our local Ukrainian families, and help pollinators too! In the autumn we will spread the knowledge of how to collect these seeds to provide a sustainable source of yearly flowers.
Online Events: Following on from the pandemic restrictions we have embraced Zoom technology which allows connections from afar. JrTT ran our own online event, Sustainable Wreath Making with ecologist Aoife Munn, in time for the 2020 holiday season. Our members also continue to take the opportunity to educate themselves by attending online webinars such as Clean Coast’s Earth hour audio event, National Biodiversity Data Centre “What Can I do to help pollinators?” webinar, Globe Ireland Teacher Tree Webinar, West Wicklow Environmental Network “Ireland’s Hedgerow Heritage” webinar, All Ireland Pollinator Plan “Climate Action Talk with Kate Chandler” webinar, Irish Wildlife Trust “Rewilding” webinar, “Composting 101” with An Taisce and many more.
Activities supported by or participated in by JrTT members:
– Greystones Community Christmas Tree
– Swifts for Schools
– Wicklow Clean Coasts Roadshow Event & North Wicklow Clean Coasts Litter Picks
– Bat Walk & Talk
– Wicklow County Council Tree Grant
– Trees on the Land cross border native tree planting
– National Tree Day wild cherry trees received from Spar
– Native Woodland Trust Free Trees for Schools with the Irish Independent
– Urban / Pocket Forests information for schools
– Wicklow Libraries Seed Ark
– Birdwatch Ireland Dawn & Dusk Chorus days and events
– Biodiversity Data Centre recording incl. Hedgehog spotting for NUI Galway’s research
– Leave No Trace education
– Global Climate Strike
– Food Producing Tree Planting with Wicklow County Council and Foodtree.ie on Kimberley Road
– Kindlestown Litter pick in conjunction with Understory and Delgany Tidy Towns
– 2Minute Beach Clean
– Leave the Leaves
– Coastwatch Survey
– ASouth beach Playground Family Friendly Clean Ups
– Energy Vampire Hunt!
– The Big Beach Clean
– Gaisce Bulbs for Bees
– Upcycling bottle tops for Sensory Garden Autism Alliance art work
– DCU Water Blitz
– Greystones Library Nature Walk
– Globe Air Quality Campaign (SEK)
Citizen Science for Juniors
Citizen Science is research carried out by members of the public who volunteer to collect scientific data, this wide ranging data is then used to support specific studies and projects. Citizen Science is also what turns a garden into a safari, a walk into a scavenger hunt, and star gazing into space exploration.
There are so many citizen science activities that you can get involved in, here are just a few.
- National Biodiversity Data Centre Recording: Recording species and their distribution across Ireland the Biodiversity Ireland has so many projects to choose from; Spring Flowers Project, Explore Your Shore!, Invasive Species, Dragonfly Ireland and more. Our current favourite is the Flower Insect Timed Count (FIT Count), simply watch a patch of flowers for 10 minutes and count how many insects visit, you can do this online, on paper or with a handy app. You can find a Beginners Guide to Recording, links to the surveys, advice on recording and online training opportunities from the National Biodiversity Data Centre here.
- Globe Observations: Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program GLOBE Ireland has been running since Earth Day 1994, supporting schools and individuals to take part in a number of Citizen Science initiatives. Their Observer App allows you to collect and submit data on Tree Height, allowing this data to be shared to scientists all over the world. You can find the app here.
- Irish Whale and Dolphin Group: Collecting sightings of cetaceans or basking sharks the IWDG Irish Whale and Dolphin Group now has a handy app where you can record your observations easily. You can find it here.
- Open Litter Map: For many people, litter has become normal and invisible. Mapping helps us notice and track the litter in our environment and supports solutions for prevention. With the Openlittermap Open Litter Map app you simply take a photo, tag what litter you see and upload it. The app can be found here.
- Dark Sky Ireland: Dark Sky Ireland and Globe at Night share an international citizen-science campaign to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution by inviting citizen-scientists to measure and submit their night sky brightness observations. https://www.darksky.ie/measuring-light-pollution/
As you carry out your Citizen Science data collecting you may need a little help. There are some great free apps such as Seek by iNaturalist, to identify flora and fauna species, and Merlin to ID birds from bird song. However if your app is telling you that you have found a rare species that never normally exists in Ireland you may want to take pause and check with some of the amazing biodiversity ID books such as The Wildflowers of Ireland guide by Zoe Devlin, or the fantastic ID swatches produced by the Biodiversity Data Centre. Or share your sightings to our Greystones Biodiversity group to help identify or simply share the wonderful plants and animals in our local area.