Primary schools across the Derry City and Strabane District Council area are being invited to take part in an exciting free education outreach programme that will allow them to explore their maritime heritage through an innovative and interactive programme entitled: “DuPont Float Your Boat.”
The education programme is being run by the Derry City and Strabane District Council in partnership with DuPont ahead of the forthcoming Foyle Maritime Festival that is taking place from 09-17 July when the Clipper Round the World Race yachts will make a welcome return to the city for a fun filled festival of fun and celebration.
The education programme will be delivered by Footsteps Interpretation and is being held alongside a competition encouraging students to design their own model boat and be in with a chance of their design being exhibited during the Maritime Festival in July.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Elisha McCallion says the education programme is a fantastic way of getting primary school children from across the city and district involved in the festival and encouraging them to explore and appreciate their local environment and their close proximity to maritime heritage.
“What I really like about this education programme is that it is all about fun and getting the children involved in a way that encourages them to take a real interest in the topics covered. It is very interactive and creative and encourages them to use their imagination and come up with creative ideas and concepts. I am delighted that we have DuPont on board as our main sponsor for the festival and look forward to working with them on the festival,” she said.
Paul Kirkpatrick, Organisation Manager, DuPont, said: “We’re so pleased to be working with the Derry City and Strabane District Council to deliver a fun, engaging and free education programme to primary school children from across Derry~Londonderry. As a company, we regularly reach out to schools, offering prizes for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) related tasks as well as creating our own competitions, so we are constantly engaging with young minds and hopefully inspiring them to take more of an interest in engineering.
“At DuPont we make Kevlar® which is extraordinarily strong, lightweight and on an equal-weight basis, five times stronger than steel. It is best known for its use in protective garments but it can also be found in ships’ hulls and we’ll all get a chance to see many of those when the Foyle Maritime Festival kicks off.”
Margaret Edwards, Education Officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council explained that the DuPont Float Your Boat scheme covers a number of areas to ensure the children get a good overview.
“Among the themes of the education project is Maritime Heritage, where the children will be encouraged to discover about the region’s maritime past, get the chance to meet with 18th century ship builder characters to hear stories of ship building, the port and navigation. Under the Environment Significance of the Region theme, the children will find out more about the environmental importance of Lough Foyle and its surrounding rivers and discover how some animals use internal navigation to travel great distances to return to their local environment. And as part of the Clipper Round the World Race theme they will hear at first-hand about life on board a Clipper yacht,” she said.
She added that the education programme meets a number of learning areas and skills for both the NI and RoI curriculum and features a learning pack for teachers.
The students are also being encouraged to participate in a competition to build their own model boat using recyclable materials. The top three designs will receive an individual prize and will be on display alongside six highly commended designs during the Foyle Maritime Festival in July.
Full details of the Foyle Maritime Festival are to be launched at the end of April.