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Wexford Primary School Pupils Sink Their Teeth into Sharks on RTÉ’s news2day

4th November 2020
Fifth and sixth class pupils at St Patrick’s NS in Craanford, Co Wexford show off their shark-related art Fifth and sixth class pupils at St Patrick’s NS in Craanford, Co Wexford show off their shark-related art Photo: Padraic Creedon

Fifth and sixth class pupils at St Patrick’s National School in Craanford, Co Wexford had the opportunity to share their knowledge of sharks with RTÉ’s children’s news programme news2day this afternoon (Wednesday 4 November).

The youngsters recently took part in a project on the fearsome fish with the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme, learning more about the sharks found in Irish waters and around the world.

Explorers outreach officer Padraic Creedon worked with teacher Jackie Cousins and her class as they were inspired by stories such as the discovery of a rare shark nursery 200 miles off the west coast of Ireland.

“Working with the Wexford class from my Galway base has been one of my highlights this year,” Creedon said.

“Seeing their work, from the shark frame on their classroom door to the detailed sculptures and art work of various Irish sharks created by the students, was fantastic.

“The children’s work showing the basking shark, which is found in Irish waters and the second largest shark in the world, was a particular favourite of mine.

Shark diorama by pupils at St Patrick’s NS (Photo: Padraic Creedon)Shark diorama by pupils at St Patrick’s NS | Photo: Padraic Creedon

“This all highlighted the importance of engaging in ocean exploration and creating ocean champions at primary school level,” added Creedon, who also works at Galway Atlantaquaria.

“Connecting with the children on line and in the class with Padraic generated huge excitement for us all,” said their teacher Jackie Cousins. “The children's enthusiasm to learn about sharks helped us incorporate a range of subjects in the class from science and English to the arts.

“The Explorers approach with the class also gave the children a voice, where they were able to lead the discussion about sharks and what they wanted to learn.

“This sense of collective engagement as well as doing their own research opened up an amazing sense of discovery, where they have excelled and produced some incredible work, from writing facts and stories about sharks to producing a series of posters and artwork.”

Mícheál Ó Scannáil, the news2day presenter who interviewed the class in his home county, was also struck by the children’s enthusiasm for sharks and their ocean habitat.

“We had great fun in Craanford and the kids and Padraic taught me a lot about sharks. I still don't know if I’d hop in the sea with them, though!”

The segment featuring the pupils of St Patricks’s NS begins at 2m40s into today’s edition of news2day on the RTÉ website HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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