Carnaun School Organic Diary – Dec 2005

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Paul Tracey, Conor Cooley, Melissa Langan, Arron Butler, Mica V Mozo, Natasha Daly and Aoife Maguire with the first of this year’s pumpkins.

Despite an attack from caterpillars, the pupils of Carnaun National School had a plentiful harvest from their organic garden.

This harvest we had an excellent crop of potatoes, brassica and corn. The carrots and beetroot, even though we did not get to thin them, were also very good and while the pumpkins were plentiful, they were not really as good as other years. This was probably due to the late sowing and to the bad weather that followed. Hopefully we will have some to bring home for Halloween! We had a dilemma with the Brussels sprouts as they were attacked by the caterpillars! We let nature take its course as we have the saying “No butterflies, no bees, no bees no trees, no tree … well think about it!

When we got a chance, we cut the lawns for the last time this year and cutback some of the hedges and the cotoneaster which was obstructing the view of the cars going out of the car park.

Tulip time

On Friday the 30th September we planted some organic bulbs – crocus, snowdrops and tulips specially imported from the Netherlands for the spring garden. Every pupil in the school sowed at least one bulb. We will call this the Mandegoud Spring Garden as we are in communication with the Basisschool there this year.

Louis, Damien, Mikaela, Zoe and Niamh ‘saving’ hay in the schoolyard


When we came back, after the holidays, we had a few days feasting on the beautiful blackberries along the meadow path. We spent an afternoon at the cold frame. Lots of children brought in sprigs of their favourite shrub and now we have some cuttings of cotoneaster, buddleia, rose etc. in pots for next year. Also, in the cold frame are some oak and horse chestnut ready to plant out in November. We hope to plant an oak tree on the day our friends from Glengurt National School, Tournafulla, Co. Limerick come to visit us.

The Master’s voice

Over the years we have had many practical projects on the theme of sustainable development which is a way of life to us in Carnaun School. We started off in 1905 with the Carnaun School Heritage Trail for which we won many awards in the ESB Environmental Awareness competitions. We were awarded the European Green Flag in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 and hope to be honoured with another one in 2006.

After three years in ‘conversion’ we got the Organic Symbol in 2003. Our Comenius Schools Partnership project ‘I eat, therefore I am’ 2001 to 2004was honoured in the European Parliament at the launch of Net@days Europe in 2001. We had great fun with ‘Butterflies’ in 2000, ‘Heating in the Compost Bin’ in 2002 and ‘Ultra Voilet Rays that with a solar panel’ in 2003. They were all cross curricular projects and great fun.

New Project

Our latest project ‘Can we use the sun’s energy to heat the school’ involved making a solar panel from an old radiator and recording the temperature hourly, during school hours, for the past month. The average rise in temperature throughout the month was 14.5 Centigrade so we came to the conclusion that with a solar panel we could, at least, heat the water in the toilets for free after the initial installation costs.

We had some visitors, to our heritage trail, in the past few weeks. They came from New Zealand and Canada and we are expecting a representative from Galway County Council to plan with us a project in ‘Alternative School Heating. We hope to apply for funding and ‘take it from there’!

Finbarr O’Regan, Principal Teacher, Carnaun School.

This article was one of many, written in Carnaun School, Athenry, from 2006 onwards, for IOFGA’s Organic Matters Magazine, Editor Cáit Curran!


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About this record

Written by Finbarr O'Regan

Published here 16 Feb 2024 and originally published Dec 2005

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