What is it?
The Nature Hero Award is Ireland’s first, standalone outdoor learning award. It is a mark of excellence for a school that recognises exceptional work by students and staff to help nature.
The aim of the achievement is to create an educational space that nurtures a love of nature, develops a knowledge of our biodiversity and encourages action to help it locally. It covers many topics such as school gardening, biodiversity conservation, ecological literacy, responsible citizenship as well as physical and mental wellbeing. There's also some great prizes to be won!
How does it work?
It's very simple! Just follow the steps below and start completing tasks in your own time. Projects include practical tasks such as hanging bird nest boxes and pollinator planting but also involve ensuring outdoor teaching time each week and staff training. You might have done some already, that's ok! You can do it as quickly or as slowly as you like. The process launches each September and the closing date for completed applications for this academic year is 24th March 2023. Schools will be awarded before the summer break. For our first year we will only be accepting applications from primary schools within the Republic of Ireland.
One school will win a garden makeover worth
Achieve the Nature Hero Award
What do I Get?
Every successful school will receive a wonderful Nature Hero Award plaque to be displayed outdoors to celebrate your school's commitment to nature education - a very important message as education, and society as a whole, embraces sustainability. Each school also receives a certificate. One lucky school will win a main prize of a school garden/ outdoor classroom upgrade worth up to €10,000, courtesy of the Glenveagh Greencare landscaping team. This will be awarded to a school demonstrating an outstanding contribution to outdoor learning. Upon renewal each year you will receive a smaller, satellite plaque to recognise the maintenance of standards. We maintain the integrity of the award with check-up visits to ensure your hard work is valued. There will also be giveaways and prizes for specific award categories including vouchers for your school.
Looking for Help?
If you are a school working towards the award, or if you would like to know more, please visit our Nature Hero Hub. There you will find the application form and lots of school and classroom resources.
Looking for inspiration?
While we await our first intake of nature heroes why not check out the following schools doing fantastic nature work for some hints and tips.
- Skibbereen BNS, Skibbereen, Co. Cork
- St. Brigid's NS, Stillorgan, Dublin
- The Harold School, Glasthule, Dublin
- Queen of the Universe NS, Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow
- School of the Holy Spirit, Kilkenny
- St. Mary's NS, Raherney, Co. Westmeath
- Scoil Bhríde, Lisdowney, Co. Kilkenny
Is there a Cost?
No, there is no application fee. Glenveagh Homes are generously supporting this initiative. To conserve our resources we ask that you only apply if you have completed the entire checklist.
What schools can take part?
The award is currently open to primary schools within the Republic of Ireland. We hope to add secondary schools and preschools after our first year.
What if I have already done much of the work?
That's no problem. We know schools have already done great work, particularly through the superb Green Schools programme. It's as much about maintaining standards at the school as it is about new projects.
What if I can't complete all tasks?
We're conscious that not all schools have the same resources available to them, eg: green space. Just get in touch with us and outline your situation if you think you need additional assistance.
Why are Glenveagh supporting these awards?
Glenveagh Homes are a national homebuilder, committed to investing in local areas through sustainable placemaking and supporting local schools and businesses. Some of their key pillars include Education, Sustainability and Health & Wellbeing. The Nature Hero Awards would not be possible without their support. Glenveagh also value the importance of biodiversity and are reviewing and implementing their own sustainability plan at each development such as prioritising native trees and creating pollinator meadows. Biodiversity in Schools also partner with Glenveagh delivering the Nature Hero Award Bootcamps, an education programme for local schools in areas where they build.
Are there limited spaces?
Yes. For the first year of the awards registrations will be limited to 200 primary schools within the Republic of Ireland.