Galway school children picking up the slack

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Primary school children across Galway will be picking the streets clean this year in the Picker Pals programme.

Students from 75 classrooms in schools from the city and county are taking part in the educational and litter-picking programme this year.

Picker Pals is a unique primary school programme that gives children the tools and motivation to become the next generation of environmentalists.

The programme works through song, storybooks, activity books and real-world action, as the eponymous ‘Pals’ lead litter-picking adventures with their families, and hopefully encouraging others to join in cleaning up their local community.

Children’s book author and creator of the Picker Pals programme, Patrick Jackson, said “If we can influence children at this key age, we have a chance of tackling the litter crisis.”

“Picker Pals creates a positive mindset in children and families around the issue of litter and their own power to make a difference.”

Starting as a pilot programme in 2019 Picker Pals has been a great success to date and will have over 1200 classrooms all across the country involved this year.

In Galway City, the programme has had an initial trial with St. Patrick’s Primary School which Tiarnan McCusker, Environmental Awareness Officer with the city council, said was received extremely positively.

Jarlath Conboy, a teacher in St. Patrick’s said “Children take a great interest in caring for the environment and really thrive when given the opportunity to work in a programme such as Picker Pals.

“We incorporated Picker Pals into a variety of subjects, including art, English, science and drama so it was a rewarding experience for all involved”

Maria Finn, Administrative Officer at Galway County Council, said that their trial programme this year was also a “huge success”, with positive feedback from the community.

She praised the programme, which “highlights the litter problem”, while also showing how it can be addressed through collaborative efforts and ongoing education.