Green Schools; Biodiversity; A Good News Story about Wolves!

Hungry like the...
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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: Brigid teaches Polly about how bees are endangered.


Polly the Polar Bear, has come to visit St. Brigid’s Greystones,

all the way from St. Peter’s in Bray.

She has come to visit Brigid the Biodiversity Bee

and has told her all about Polar Bears

and why they are endangered.

This is the story so far.

Now it is Brigid’s turn,

to tell Polly her side of the story.


‘Well first, said Brigid,

‘it is important to know about the important job bees do:

Read all about the important job that bees do HERE.

You can read more about that important job of pollinating flowers here.

Why are bees endangered?

Well you can find out the answer to this question if you click on this link.

‘We’ve done a lot of good work,’ said Polly.

I think it is time, I thought about getting back to Bray…’

Watch out 2nd Class, St.Peter’s,

Polly is on her way back to you 🙂


Green Schools: Biodiversity: Polly explains how we can help Polar Bears

Polly the Polar Bear, has come to visit St. Brigid’s, Greystones all the way from St.Peter’s in Bray. She has come to visit Brigid the Biodiversity Bee and tell her all about Polar Bears and why they are endangered.

Click on this link for the story so far.

on top of the world
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Polly explained that ‘reducing our carbon footprint’ will reduce global warming and that will help the polar bears. We can do this by:

1. Turning off lights, computers, TVs and other electrical equipment when we are not using them.

2. Turning off the water while we’re brushing our teeth.

3. Walking or cycling instead of using the car.

4.  Not wasting paper. Remember to reduce, reuse and recycle.

5. Growing your own food.

6. Buying food that is grown locally


Polly said that you can find your carbon footprint

and how to reduce it by using this 

Kids’ Carbon Calculator from Cool The


‘Well,’ said Polly, now you have heard all about Polar Bears and why they are endangered perhaps you can tell me about bees’.

‘Why certainly,’ said Brigid. ‘That’s what we will do tomorrow’. 

Green Schools: Biodiversity: Polly explains to Brigid why Polar Bears are Endangered

Click on this link to see how this story began:

St.Peter’s Polar Bear, Polly came to visit Brigid the Biodiversity Bee and St.Brigid’s.

Polly and Brigid had a long chat today.

Polly told Brigid all about Polar Bears

and why they are endangered.

Dreaming of ice and snow and frozen fish
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: patries71 via Compfight

Polly said: ‘Click on the top tab on this link from Kids National

where it says ‘Video and Sound’

to see some of my Polar Bear cousins’.


Polly said: ‘You can also learn about Polar Bears here:

Polar Bears for Kids – Polar Bears


Brigid was wondering where Polar Bears lived.

Polly explained Polar Bears are found in the wild

in Alaska, Canada, Russia, Greenland and Norway.

They are carnivores.

They don’t drink water.

They get the liquids they need from the food they eat.

Did you know Polar Bears are amazing long distance swimmers?

High Five!!
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Polar bear feet act like snowshoes.

polar bear in snow shoes
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Brigid wanted to know why Polar Bears are endangered.

Polly explained that polar Bears are endangered because of global warming.

Polar bears can only survive in places where the oceans freeze.

This is because they hunt the seals  that live on, or under the frozen ice.

Because of global warming the ice isn’t there long enough during the hunting season

for the polar bear to catch enough seals,to have enough food for the year.

They have to ‘fast’ for months.


‘That make me hungry,’ said Polly. ‘Let’s take a break. I’ll tell you more tomorrow’.

‘I know a lovely place in Greystones where you can get

delicious and nutritious locally produced food,’ said Brigid.

So off they went…

The Happy Pear
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Green Schools: Brigid the Biodiversity Bee is Back!

Our Green Schools Mascot, Brigid the Biodiversity Bee

has been going from class to class,

spreading the news about biodiversity.

She took time out from her busy schedule to make this slideshow,

showing how we are encouraging biodiversity around the school.

If you would like to read more about what we have done

click on this link to our Green Schools Blog

Green Schools: Biodiversity: Spring Visitors


On Valentine’s Day, as part of working towards

our Green Schools Flag and learning about Biodiversity

a kind Dad brought two lambs into visit each class in the school.

These visitors caused great excitement

and were as enthusiastically received in Sixth Class

as in Junior Infants.

You can read more about their visit

and the rest of the work we are doing on Biodiversity

on the school’s Green School Blog

Green Schools: Biodiversity: Wild Irish Land Mammals

Irish Mammals

The Red deer is the largest Irish land mammal.

Red Deer
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Fallow deer were introduced by the Normans.

Fallow Deer
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Japanese Sika deer were introduced to

Powercourt Estate, in County Wicklow, in the 19th century.

Sika Stag - Arne
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The Irish for Pine marten is ‘Cait Crann’.

This means ‘Tree Cat’.


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This is an Otter

Oriental Short-Clawed Otter 2
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The American mink was introduced to Ireland in the 1940s.

It was to be farmed for its fur.

Escapees from the early 1960s onwards

resulted in wild mink.

Mink 06-13-11
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A Badger is a nocturnal animal.

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This is an Irish stoat.

Photo Credit: Peter Trimming via Compfight

A Red Fox is a carnivore.

Red Fox
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A Rabbit is a herbivore.

Rabbit on its haunches
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Can you see how an Irish hare is different

from a rabbit?


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The Pygmy shrew and the Pipistrelle bat

are the smallest Irish mammals.

Pygmy Shrew
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Did you know that Hedgehogs are excellent climbers?

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Here is the Grey squirrel. Approximately five pairs were brought to Ireland in 1911. They were given as a wedding present. They escaped and went to live in the wild.

Nut Face
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Here is a Red squirrel. 

whisky frisky
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The Bank vole came to Ireland from Germany,

in soil from earth moving equipment that was

used to build a dam at Ardnacrusha in 1925.

Bank vole
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There are many kinds of bats in Ireland.

This is the smallest: the Pipistrelle.

Photo Credit: Bill Tyne via Compfight

Other wild Irish mammals include, the House Mouse, the Wood Mouse, the Brown Rat and the Feral Goat. You can find out more about them on this link to Wicklow Mountains National

Green Schools: Biodiversity: Why Are Bees Dying Out?

Galápagos interlude 2
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In many parts of the world, honeybees are dying. This is causing a lot of worry. This is because be pollinate important food crops.

Scientists are trying to figure out why bees are dying.

What makes this mystery really hard to solve is that bees are hard to study.

1. Most bees die away from the hive, so the scientists don’t have any dead bees to examine.

2. Bees have a natural life cycle and because if this when scientist return to a hive after even two weeks, about half the bees they studied on their first visit will be dead and they will be replaced by new ones.

3. Being a scientist detective is even trickier because, bees travel up to 3 kilometres away from their hive to find nectar from flowers. So that when bees become ill or poisoned, it is hard to know where the damage was done.

Scientists do have some ideas about what could be causing the bees to die.

1. They could be poisoned by insect sprays that people use to kill insects that are pests. Another name for these insect sprays are pesticides and insecticides.

2. We learned about overgrazing when we heard about what could happen if the Snow Leopard, for example disappeared from the food chain. See this link on our school’s Green Schools Blog to find out. Overgrazing would mean the fields and meadows when the bees get their food would be destroyed.

3. Bees may not be getting enough food to be strong and healthy. This is also because the habitats where their food grows; meadows and fields and being taken over by building.

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Kacper Gunia via Compfight

For example: Where we live around Greystones used be full of meadows, fields and forests. Now they are full of houses.

The hints that this happened are in the names of some of the estates.

1. So Heathervue was once a hillside covered in heather, whether the bees could collect nectar.

six-petaled apple, or some other rose
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2. Perhaps there were cherry trees in Delgany before the houses in Cherry Glade  and Cherry Drive were built.

There are other reasons too, that scientists think that the number of bees is falling.

1. They think that tiny insects called mites feed on bees.

2. Others think that it is a virus or bacteria that is damaging the bee population.

Most of all it is important to protect the bee population because they pollinates so many plants that become food for the human race.

Green Schools: Biodiversity: Pollination – An Important Job that Bees Do.

As part of the work we are doing in school for our fifth Green School Flag on the theme of Biodiversity, we are learning about bees and pollination.

Honey bees help plants to make the fruit and nuts we like to eat, by carrying pollen from one plant or flower to the next. Important crops like oats, corn and wheat are pollinated by the wind. But many other plants like apple trees, depend on birds, bats and insects.

Bees don’t wake up each morning and set off to go pollinating plants and flowers. Their instinct it to collect nectar from the flowers. They feed this sweet liquid to the Queen Bee. Even though the pollinating that they do is a very important job for the world, the bees do it by accident.

This is how it happens: If you look at a bee close up, you will see that they have hairy legs and bodies. The pollen on the flowers stick to their hairy bodies.

Here is a picture:

Bee on Dandelion

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We have learned that our supermarket shelves would be empty of many of the fruits and vegetables that are available there, if it weren’t for bees. Click on this link  to see a list of these on our school’s Green School Blog.

As well as the fruit and vegetables that we eat, many of the animals that live on our farms, eat foods that bees pollinate. It is said that every third spoonful that we eat, we have thanks to the work of the honey bees. If bees weren’t around to pollinate the plants, we wouldn’t have a choice of as many different foods to eat.

If you would like to read more about bees and pollination, check out these useful links.

Many thanks to Klaudia, Sinead, Zara and Sarah from Fourth Class for researching this information.

Green Schools; Biodiversity; Pollination; Useful Links

Photo Credit: Antonio Picascia via Compfight

We are working towards our fifth Green Flag.

We are learning about Biodiversity.

As part of this we are learning about

the importance of bees

and pollination.


If you would like to learn about this too,

here are some useful links:


1. A short introduction from ‘Pollination Canada’

Pollination for Kids and Teachers


2. Colourful and eye catching explanations

of pollination and pollinators from

Kids Growing


3. A more detailed account is to be found

on the US Forestry site:

Our Future Flies on the Wings of Pollinators.


Vermont Wildflowers
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Marty Desilets via Compfight 

Here are two videos on Vimeo:

This first one is from Oxford University Press.

An animation by Mark Ruffle, it is

less than a minute long,

and is about bee pollination:

Pollination: Science Animation


This second video is less just over seven minutes long.

Introduced by filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg

the real life film footage begins after three minutes.

Though inspired by the vanishing of the honeybee,

the high speed camera work also features pollinators

such as the hummingbird, butterflies and bats.

‘The Hidden Beauty of Pollination’.


And finally, some food for thought

from the TTA Science Department:


Pollination 3

Click HERE for a closer look 😉

Our 1st project of 2012 is on owls

Nadine’s ‘Owl Eyes’

We have begun to do projects in class. In a little while we will be doing projects for homework.

We are reading ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark’ by Jill Tomlinson. We are doing a project about owls.

We used the Enchanted Learning website for information.

The children were particularly interested in the subject of owl pellets.
We used this site KIDWINGS

The class enjoyed listening to recordings of owls. There are some on the Kidwings site mentioned about but they much preferred the audios of owls screeching.

These following links come with a ‘Government Health Warning’ as some of the owl screeches can sound rather shrill.


National Geographic for Kids can be accessed HERE

Laura’s ‘Owl Eyes’.

The internet is fantastic for researching project work, but please supervise your child’s use of same.

Update 15th January 2013

Today we found this lovely website with a video of a barn owl in flight. If you look further down the page on the right, you will see there is also an audio of what the barn owl sounds like.

Barn Owls have been spotted in our neighbourhood. We are going to look out for barn owls when we are walking at night. They fly silently but they have a very loud screech.

Great website about nature. This is a link to a barn owl in flight.