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Explorers Education Programme Tops Outreach Category in The Education Awards 2023

7th May 2023
Celestine Rowland presents Cushla Dromgool-Regan and the Explorers team (from left, William McElhinney of Leave No Trace Ireland, Dr NoirÍn Burke of Galway Atlantaquaria and Padraic Creedon of Leave No Trace Ireland) with the Best Education Outreach Award for the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme
Celestine Rowland presents Cushla Dromgool-Regan and the Explorers team (from left, William McElhinney of Leave No Trace Ireland, Dr NoirÍn Burke of Galway Atlantaquaria and Padraic Creedon of Leave No Trace Ireland) with the Best Education Outreach Award for the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme Credit: The Education Awards 2023

The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme won the Best Education Outreach Award in The Education Awards 2023, announced at a gala event in Dublin recently.

“We are delighted that the Explorers Programme’s outreach module Healthy Ocean Project and Ocean Champions Award has been recognised for its excellence in promoting ocean literacy at primary-school level,” said Marine Institute chief executive Dr Paul Connolly. “This award recognises the quality of the programme and the work of those delivering it throughout the country.”

“This initiative provides children with invaluable knowledge about the marine environment, and it inspires innovation and presents opportunities across marine science, technology and the arts.”

The Explorers Healthy Ocean initiative is based on cooperation and co-creation and applies an ‘all-school’ approach where teachers, children, the programme’s outreach teams and local communities work together towards becoming ocean champions.

The judging panel described the Explorers programme as a “creative and innovative method of outreach and engagement”. The “very cohesive programme” highlights an important subject — healthy oceans — and has a “highly commendable collaborative approach in place to resolve the challenges the ocean faces. It shows a firm methodology that is achieving great results.”

“This recognition highlights the importance of marine-themed content being taught in primary schools. Seashore field trips, along with STEM and STEAM projects help teachers to focus on delivering content that promotes ocean literacy and engagement, in line the with new Primary Curriculum Framework,” said Cushla Dromgool-Regan, strategic manager with the Camden Education Trust, which manages the Explorers programme.

“The teams have worked extremely hard on the Healthy Ocean initiative and we’re very lucky and proud to have such talented people on board who inspire teachers and children to want to learn more about the ocean and how it influences all facets of life — from the oxygen we breathe, to the energy we use in our homes and to the food we eat.

“Applying an integrated approach helps schools to implement key competencies and skills for children’s learning. The annual Healthy Ocean School Project & Ocean Champion Awards initiative is an excellent example of how this can be achieved.”

The Explorers Education Programme outreach teams include Galway Atlantaquaria, Leave No Trace Ireland, Sea Synergy, Old Cork Waterworks Experience, Oceanics Surf School and and Seashore Kids.

The Education Awards 2023 were presented at a gala event at the Crowne Plaza in Santry, north Dublin on Thursday 27 April.

Published in Marine Science Team

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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.


At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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