Paul Fitzpatrick, Eoghan Murray, Billy McArdle, James Fanthom, Anya Dowdall, Ya Qing Liu, Keira McNamee, Chloe Smith, Tara Curley and Rhianne Castle Kelly.

St Joseph's TY students take part in clean up of walking routes on Rahanine Bog

By Rhianne Castle Kelly

What does your typical school day look like?

Probably something like this: enter school, take roll call, and start lesson, whatever that may be. In a multitude of classes, we talk about our environment, whether it's from a geographical point of view, a sustainability point of view, or an economic one, but it's not very often we as students get to spend time admiring or looking after the environment around us.

On Thursday April 26, a handful of TYs from Rochfortbridge got to catch a break from the everyday hustle of school life and took a visit to the naturally scenic looped walks of Rochfortbridge. There was a buzz in the air as it was the morning of their big trip abroad of the year, and although litter picking wasn’t probably what they saw themselves doing that morning it turned into a brilliant start to the day.

They arrived and were met by Mary and Monica, two local volunteers and advocates for the area. They provided the TYs with gear, gloves, bags, litter pickers and set them on their way. Along the walks we chatted and picked up any litter we saw in the area. We talked about the efforts the volunteers and what they put into maintaining the cleanliness of the area and their plans for the future. They explained their ambitions to get Bord na Mona on board to grant permissions to develop the bog walk and how exactly it would benefit the students. They spoke about how it would be an asset to us and the school community in our education and exams. Afterall, what's a better way to learn other than hands on? After walking for the morning with the ladies I think we could really see their vision.

The walks have a “natural” sense of beauty to them, the noise pollution was near zero due to the area being quite rural. The walks were obviously maintained, and due to the little “human traffic” there were bundles of wildlife just existing, we got to watch the swans just living in their natural habitat, unbothered by the world around them.

After the walks we were offered refreshments that were provided by the local shop, Daybreak in Rochfortbridge. We sat down and admired our hard work surrounded by the bags of rubbish we had collected with a sense of achievement. We headed back to school soon after, happy, and maybe this is speaking for myself, but tired. The consensus of the day was a positive one made better with friends.

I suppose the experience left me with the question; Why aren't we pushing as a school to utilise the local area's assets and helping the students and local population in the process?

I guess here is my start, by raising awareness.

Ya Qing Liu & Anya Dowdall.