Environment Minister, Alex Attwood, launched the 2012 Belfast Harbour Green Teacher of the Year Award by calling on all primary school pupils throughout Northern Ireland to help find this years ‘greenest teacher’. Organised by Belfast Harbour and Action Renewables, the unique competition aims to reward primary school teachers for taking responsibility for the environment and eco issues.

Thousands of pupils in over 850 primary schools across Northern Ireland are being given the opportunity to help their teacher be crowned ‘Belfast Harbour Green Teacher of the Year’ by telling Action Renewables, in no more than 100 words, about the hard work their teacher does to look after the environment and educate children about ‘green’ issues.

All entries must be made to Action Renewables by Friday 19 October 2012 when they will be judged by a panel of experts, including David Knott, Environmental Manager, Belfast Harbour, Angus Waddington, Associate at Todd Architects, Susan Kinane, Managing Director, ESBIE Electric Ireland and Kate Noble, Head of Energy and Environmental Practices at the National Trust.

Six finalist teachers and their classes will be invited to take part in an all-expenses-paid fun Challenge Day at W5, an interactive discovery centre, on Wednesday 14 November 2012 where they will meet Webster, Belfast Harbour’s environmental guardian, enjoy an interactive ‘Talking Rubbish’ show and take part in a new team challenge for 2012 to create wind turbines.

The day will conclude with one teacher being awarded the coveted Belfast Harbour Green Teacher of the Year title and winning tickets for their class to the new Titanic Belfast visitor attraction, a large hamper for the teacher, as well as an additional day at W5. There will also be prizes for the two runner ups of hampers and W5 tickets for their classes. All pupils attending the Challenge day will receive goodie bags.

Emphasising the important nature of the competition, Environment Minister, Alex Attwood, said:

“This competition has an important role to pay in communicating to our young people the need to protect our environment now and in the future. There are many ‘green’ projects already taking place in our schools, from simple recycling to reducing energy usage and exploring sustainable ways of teaching. The ‘Green Teacher of the Year’ awards can not only complement the work already underway but inspire new ways of thinking about environmental issues, making Northern Ireland a better place to work, live and invest.”

Roy Adair, Belfast Harbour CEO, continued:

“The Green Teacher of the Year Award, now in its fourth year, has proved to be a huge success and has really caught the imagination of primary school children across Northern Ireland and significantly raised their awareness of a range of environmental issues.

“Belfast Harbour is actively committed to increasing knowledge and understanding of the growing need for reducing waste and energy consumption amongst our next generation of leaders. It is encouraging to see so many teachers and pupils across the region be recognised for their genuine enthusiasm about creating a greener environment.”

Nicola Murphy, Business Development Manager, Action Renewables, said:

“We are delighted to once again team up with Belfast Harbour for another year of this extremely successful schools competition. Initiatives like ‘Green Teacher of the Year’ provide the ideal platform to deliver our key messages which will hopefully remain with these young children for life and help create a greener environment.

“Last year there were over 300 individual entries and we are confident of receiving even more in 2012. Over the past three years we have experienced a greenhouse made from recycled bottles, environmental community days, outdoor classrooms and eco comic strips, amongst a host of other activities, so we are looking forward to seeing the inventive projects this year’s competition will bring.”

Last year’s judging panel named Mr Neil McAllister from Fairview Primary School, Ballyclare, as winner of the coveted gong, taking away the top prize of a hamper and tickets for his class to the Ulster Orchestra Christmas performance ‘The Snowman’ at the Ulster Hall.

Any primary schoolchildren who think their teacher deserves the Green Teacher of the Year title should send their entry, which should consist of no more than 100 words, to ‘Belfast Harbour Green Teacher of the Year 2012’, Action Renewables, Boucher Business Studios, Block C, Unit 1, Glenmachan Place, Belfast, BT12 0PL or email education@actionrenewables.co.uk by 19 October to ensure their teacher doesn’t miss out.