TWO students from Mary Immaculate Secondary School have, quite literally, shown that you can muddy the waters and be rewarded for your efforts.
The Grey Area Within Greywater is the title of a project by Alice Davoren and Emily Cullinan that has won the Junior Water Category at the national Young Environmentalist Awards, which were.
Now in its 21st year, the awards, hosted by ECO-UNESCO, recognise the efforts made by young people aged 10 to 18 years old across Ireland who have worked towards improving the environment.
Alice and Emily’s project looked at the effects of using greywater on the chemistry and the earthworm population in soil. Having found that it had a negative effect on the population of earthworms, they created an awareness campaign to highlight the damaging effects of greywater on biodiversity in the soil.
Both second year students, who come from the Kilfenora are, had entered a project in the BT Young Scientist and Technology exhibition in January. In that project, they discovered that the use of greywater that contains wash-up liquid or soaps and shampoo to water plants had a negative effect on the earthworm population in the soil. Because of their findings, they wanted to highlight this environmental issue to the wider public.
A young environmentalist project needs to have an action element and they are trying to educate the public about this environmental project. One way they are doing this is through their website: www.mindtheearthworms.com.
To make it to the final of the Young Environmentalist Awards, the Lisdoonvarna students had to go through two rounds of judging. The entries submitted are judged and some projects make it through to the Eco Dens. These are held throughout the country and the students make a presentation to a panel of judges. From these Eco Dens the projects are selected to the final showcase, which is held in Dublin. From the almost 500 entries this year, only 150 were chosen to take part in the finals.
This year due to the Covid 19 restrictions, the students had to submit a video, as well as their written project. The finals were streamed online on, hosted by 2FM DJ, Tara Stewart.
It was with great delight that the two students involved heard that they were given the junior water award. In introducing the award, the presenter said that they were “a really passionate group who have made great efforts to save the earthworms from greywater”
Alice and Emily receive a certificate and a trophy specially made by Creative Shed in Kildare. They are made of a mixture of bog oak and other locally sourced wood. It is hoped that these can be presented to the winners in person in the autumn.
Mary Immaculate principal Mona Hynes congratulated the students and their teacher John Sims on bringing this latest science project award to the school.