Letterkenny Educate Together National School has been named winner of the national education programme Something Fishy for 2019.
The students from fifth class were presented with the Something Fishy perpetual trophy and a monetary prize by Minister for Education Joe McCue at their school yesterday (Monday 19 November).
The pupils received the national accolade for their project called Save Our Schools (SOS), which saw the class build a website aimed at engaging other children and young people to learn about fish and the importance of protecting the fisheries resource for angling and inland fishing.
The webpage included digital games and video content, all devised and produced by the children themselves.
During the 2017-2018 academic year, 99 national schools and 10 education centres took part in the Something Fishy programme, reaching some 3,000 students.
The Something Fishy education programme is an initiative of Inland Fisheries Ireland, in partnership with Blackrock Education Centre, which allows students to learn about fish and the environment in a local context.
Students enjoy classroom-based activities as well as practical field trips with fisheries officers as part of the programme, which is promoted and delivered by education centres nationwide. In addition, students compile and submit projects on their learning for assessment by an independent judging panel.
Teachers and students participating in the Something Fishy programme explore eight different lessons on the fisheries resource, after which they receive a visit from inland fisheries Oofficers who introduce them to their local river and the fish and invertebrates who live within in. Since its inception in 2005, over 50,000 students have participated in the programme.
Minister McHugh said: “This year’s award is particularly special as we embark, in conjunction with countries all over the world, on the International Year of the Salmon to celebrate the shared cultural and mythological place of salmon in societies around the globe.
He added: “I am particularly proud that Donegal, and especially the Letterkenny area, has built up an excellent pedigree in this competition with this year’s champions following in the footsteps of Gartan NS who won the title last year.”
Inland Fisheries Ireland chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne said: “Letterkenny Educate Together really impressed the judging panel with their use of digital communications to highlight significant conservation messages for their peers. I would like to congratulate the children and their teachers, Nakita Burke and Cliona Marley, for showcasing important learnings about the local fisheries environment in such an effective manner.”
Jacqui Dillon, director of Donegal Education Centre, said the county’s second win in two years “is reflective of the commitment of the teachers involved and the keen interest they have engendered in their pupils”.