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Mary Immaculate College & Explorers Education Programme Get ‘Wild About Wildlife’ Promoting Marine Biodiversity

17th March 2024
Explorers Education Programme’s Wild About Wildlife on the Seashore logo

The Marine Institute has launched an updated edition of the Explorers Education Programme’s Wild About Wildlife on the Seashore workbook, which has also been translated into Irish, and is being used as a key teaching resource for student teachers at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick.

All second-year B.Ed students and postgraduate Masters in Education (PME) students have completed an ocean literacy workshop, delivered by staff from the Explorers programme.

Specialist workshops were organised for third- and fourth-year students completing specialisms in primary geography and sustainability.

Lecturer Dr Anne Dolan congratulated the Explorers team on their dedication to produce new fit-for-purpose teaching resources for educators, teachers and children.

“Working with Cushla Dromgool-Regan and Dr Nóirín Burke of the Explorers programme for nearly five years now has been an important element of encouraging student teachers to include marine biodiversity in their lesson plans,” Dr Dolan said. “The marine-themed resources can be used for cross-curricular teaching and to help teachers easily integrate and forge new experiences in and outside the classroom.

“The workshops held at Mary Immaculate College also inspire and engage student teachers to learn about our local environments and marine species, and are key to helping promote rich, flexible, creative learner-centred environments.”

With the new Primary School Curriculum Framework (2023) now introduced into schools, teachers have the responsibility to provide children with the skills they need for communication and critical decision-making.

Subjects taught as part of social and environmental education, STEM, the arts and languages all provide opportunities for children to develop their skills, and to make informed decisions about how to mitigate climate change and ocean pollution, and to protect our natural biodiversity.

These resources are freely available to download from Included are short films, posters and workbooks, art templates, species profiles and presentations for teachers and children to use in the classroom.

“We are so lucky to be working in collaboration with Dr Anne Dolan and Dr Jennifer Liston who are both recognised leaders in education,” said Dr Noirin Burke, Explorers delivery and team manager. “Promoting creative and flexible approaches to bringing the ocean into the classroom and across school content, is key to ensuring we create positive changes to protecting and using our marine resources in a sustainable way.”

The programme is funded by the Marine Institute, the State agency for marine research and development, and is managed by Camden Education and Galway Atlantaquaria. 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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