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Displaying items by tag: Explorers Education Programme

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 Sharks

Creating ‘ocean champions’ around Ireland is the latest mission for outreach team members from the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme.

The team are delivering a range of marine projects and seashore safaris in primary schools through blended learning, online activities and outdoor class visits.

This has involved adapting their favourite marine projects and developing new content for teachers and primary school children to use in the classroom.

Each month the programme will launch a new project and a series of new resources teachers and pupils can use. This month’s project is ‘An Ocean of Stories — My Explorers Personal Story’, created by Co Clare-based Explorers outreach officer Carmel Madigan.

The artist, author and habitat researcher says her creative writing project “focuses on wellbeing, creativity and reflecting on our connection with the ocean”.

She adds: “This is a great time to reflect and use our imagination and share our stories. These might include the day the sand got into my sandwiches to the drama of picking up a large seashore crab.

“We will be celebrating the children's work by sharing the stories on the Explorers social media pages. We will also be publishing a selection of our favourite submissions in an Anthology of Short Ocean Stories next year on World Oceans Day.”

Schools and students lacking in broadband access won’t be left out, either, as Carmel has produced a series of videos to inspire the children with their work with will be sent to teachers to share with their classes.

“We have really worked outside the box this term and the Explorer teams have done an amazing job coming up with projects that classes and schools can still take part in,” said the programme’s strategic education manager, Cushla Dromgool-Regan of the Camden Education Trust.

“This includes online engagement, personalised film messages and traditional letter-writing, to name a few. A huge volume of support materials have also been created for the teachers to use in class with the children including interactive short films, workbooks, fun facts and posters.”

Explorers weekly updates are posted on Facebook and Twitter. If you are interested in your class taking part in an Explorers project, contact your nearest Explorers outreach officer or the support services team at Galway Atlantaquaria for more via www.explorers.ie

Published in Coastal Notes

The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme team has joined marine scientists, teachers and educators across Europe and North America to hit the beach to celebrate World Cleanup Day, which took place this year last Saturday 19 September.

During the month of September, members of the EMSEA-Atlanic network from Ireland, Azores, Portugal, USA and Canada have been taking part in local beach cleanups “with a focus on highlighting some of the prominent litter items frequently found on our seashores around the Atlantic”, according to EMSEA board member Evy Copejans.

As well as bringing communities together to learn more about marine wildlife and the marine environment, beach cleanups are also opportunity to find the most extraordinary things washed up on the shore.

In the past, EMSEA members have found messages in bottles, rubber ducks, bowling balls, and mini-boats that have drifted on currents across the Atlantic.

And they are sharing any oddities and treasures discovered on beaches on social media with the hashtags #seawhatifound and #EMSEAAtlantic.

“On the west coast of Ireland, in Galway we often find buoys, fishing gear and sometimes items from halfway across the world,” said Padraic Creedon, outreach officer at Galway Atlantaquaria.

Explorers’ Cushla Dromgool-Regan added: “We are connected by the ocean in so many ways and recognise the importance of working together to ensure the ocean is sustained for our families, friends and future generations.

Coastal clean-ups help us raise awareness about the connections we have and the influence the ocean has on us, as well as the impact we have on the ocean.”

Published in Marine Wildlife

The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme outreach team are currently sharing their favourite marine facts and lesson plans about the ocean for teachers, parents and primary school children to use while learning from home.

The ‘Meet the Explorers Team’ online initiative is in recognition of International Earth Day, celebrated each year from the beginning of spring to Earth Day itself on 22 April, says Explorers Education manager Cushla Dromgool-Regan.

“Many of our Explorers outreach teams are going digital this month sharing their stories, favourite facts and providing free lesson plans to help raise awareness about the ocean and all the life it supports,” she added.

The Explorers team will be posting ocean facts on its Facebook and Twitter social media channels, and have set up a dedicated web page for teachers and parents to download free lesson plans, activities, project ideas and fun facts about the ocean over the coming weeks.

They are also keen to share children’s favourite facts, stories and projects about the ocean online. Keep an eye on social media for updates, competitions and sharing new stories about the ocean.

Published in Marine Science

Global Action Plan Ireland and the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School (INSS) shared their love for the ocean on Valentine’s Day with primary schools in Ballymun and Dun Laoghaire as part of the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme.

With a Master’s degree in Marine Sustainability and a passion for sharing her love for the ocean, Eimear Manning, education officer with Global Action Plan Ireland, started an Explorers marine science project with over 25 children from Virgin Mary GNS in Ballymun, North Dublin.

Beginning this week, they will be exploring everything from plankton to sharks, and how climate change effects all creatures in the sea. Sharks are a speciality of Eimear’s, who joins frequent expeditions in Florida to tag and collect data on sharks off the Miami coast.

“I am really excited to be involved in the Explorers Education Programme and having their support providing clear objectives of how to increase marine engagement and ocean literacy in schools in Ireland,” she said.

“Having also recently represented Ireland at the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Forum in Brussels as an All-Atlantic Youth Ambassador has highlighted the importance of children engaging in our ocean.

“The involvement of youth in addressing how we enjoy and use our ocean resources helps to ensure we are better equipped to look after our environment now and into the future.”

Also involved in the pilot outreach training is Muriel Rumball from INSS, who brings a wealth of expertise to the team where she has been involved in teaching children about all aspects of the ocean, from marine recreation to formal education.

Running a seashore safari with students from Glenageary Killiney National School, Muriel highlighted the value of teaching children about the marine on the curriculum.

“I have worked with children for many years both in and out of school and it is extremely important that we give children the opportunity to extend their education relating to environmental care outdoors,” she said.

‘Exploring the seashore at our doorstep is key to ensuring we learn to truly value, love and engage with the ocean in a positive way’

“Sharing and seeing children touch, feel and smell the ocean as well as exploring the seashore at our doorstep is key to ensuring we learn to truly value, love and engage with the ocean in a positive way.”

Recently selected to take part in Explorers pilot training, the teams — along with four other outreach centres from Louth, Wexford and Limerick — took part in a three-day workshop in Galway run by Dr Noirin Burke of Galway Atlantaquaria and Cushla Dromgool-Regan of the Camden Education Trust.

“The training programme provided an excellent introduction for outreach centres wanting to learn more about how to introduce concepts of ocean literacy onto the curriculum, as well as support key aspects of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with a particular reference to climate action and the ocean,” said Cushla, who is responsible for the strategic development and management of the Explorers Education Programme.

Welcoming the opportunity to support new centres and expand the Explorers reach around the country, Dr Burke added: “Initiatives like this help build on the success of the Explorers programme who have been working with primary schools for over fourteen years.

“We are delighted to be able to share our knowledge with the centres as well as help develop a stronger network of marine outreach professionals throughout Ireland.”

Dr Paul Connolly, chief executive of the Marine Institute, congratulated the Explorers training team and the centres in taking part in the pilot outreach training programme.

“Developing marine outreach that can support teachers in classrooms is key to ensuring children receive a unique experience of learning and engaging with the ocean,” he said. “In turn, this helps to equip children in becoming ocean leaders and marine champions of the future.”

For more information about the Explorers Education Programme see www.explorers.ie

Published in Marine Science

Primary school children across Ireland are being invited to use the power of their imagination to save the ocean from climate change in a new art and writing competition.

The Explorers Pop Art & Creative Writing Competition was launched earlier this week by the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme.

“By bringing science, art and creative writing together, the aim of the ‘ocean superhero’ competition is to cultivate the children's imagination, creating new ideas and solutions when addressing issues of environmental care and climate change,” said Cushla Dromgool-Regan, Explorers Education manager from Camden Education Trust who is co-ordinating the contest.

“The idea of creating an ocean superhero aims to help create a sense of hope for children at a time of adversity in the world, when the impacts of climate change can seem extremely challenging.”

The winners will see their art work and stories showcased as part of the Marine Institute exhibit at SeaFest, Ireland’s largest maritime festival, from 14-17 May.

A shortlist of VIP winning classes will be invited to visit the Marine Institute’s research vessel and its exhibition at Seafest, where they will get to meet world-leading speakers and scientists who are all working towards Ireland’s challenge in responding and adapting to climate change.

The Explorers Education Programme website has more information about the competition, including details of how to enter.

Published in Marine Science

Children from Rang 2 at Scoil Shéamais Naofa in Bearna got up close and personal with sharks on the RV Celtic Explorer as part of the Marine Institute’s outreach and engagement programme.

The pupils completed a project module on sharks in Irish waters as part of the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme, and also had the opportunity to visit the State research vessel.

Outreach officer Padraic Creedon of the Explorers Education Programme said one if the programme’s unique elements “is the content and support provided to teachers in the classroom in an easy and fun way.

“The students were inspired by the discovery of a rare shark nursery 200 miles off the west coast of Ireland in 2018, and we were delighted to create lessons, interactive experiments and discussion about the ocean, sharks and their environment for the class.”

While on board the RV Celtic Explorer, pupils met with the captain and scientists and saw what it might be like to work on a research vessel.

Students spoke with Captain Denis Ronan about the Celtic Explorer, and learn more about the acoustically silent ship that can stay out at sea for up to 35 days.

The pupils were excited to tour the vessel and speak with marine scientists to discover more about shark species, seabed mapping, shipwrecks and the marine environment.

Visiting the dry and wet labs, the pupils saw various fish species from recent surveys and shark species, such as dogfish and the tope shark.

Clár Ní Bhraonáin, teacher at Scoil Shéamais Naofa, said: “It has been an amazing experience … Students don’t forget days like this.”

The Explorers programme offers a range of materials including lesson plans to conduct experiments in class, watching films that helps generate discussion, and peer learning among pupils.

“Because of the students’ enthusiasm to learn more about sharks, we have been able to incorporate marine themes across the curriculum, where they have excelled and produced some incredible work, from writing books about sharks to a series of posters and artwork,” Ní Bhraonáin added.

“This project has really helped myself and the students learn more about the ocean.”

For more information on the Explorers Education outreach centres, visit the Explorers Contacts page at Explorers.ie. The programme is supported by the Marine Institute and is funded under the Marine Research Programme by the Government.

Published in Sharks

#MarineScience - Build Your Own Unknown, a marine science and art project by fourth-class pupils at Cregmore National School in Co Galway, has been shortlisted for the Allianz Business to Arts Awards.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Cregmore pupils worked with artist Louise Manifold to produce their installation and short film, using images and footage from the ROV Holland I for inspiration in recreating the discovery of the Moytirra deep-sea hydrothermal vents in 2011.

The project — which places art, marine science and technology in the heart of the classroom — also involved TULCA in partnership with the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme and marine scientist Dr Andy Wheeler from UCC.

Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan congratulated the team on their achievement and wished them luck for awards night.

“One of the greatest outcomes of the Build Your Own Unknown project was being able to provide an opportunity for artists, marine scientists and educators to work together to help engage and increase children, teachers and the wider community’s awareness about the importance of our ocean,” said Dr Heffernan.

The Allianz Business to Arts Awards recognise and champion the spirit of collaboration between businesses, artists and arts organisations that develop creative partnerships; bringing the arts and artists into mutually beneficial relationships across society.

The winners of this year’s Allianz Business to Arts Awards will be announced later this evening (Monday 4 September).

Published in Marine Science

#MarineScience - Fourth-class pupils from Cregmore National School in Co Galway are creating a marine science and art installation and short film with artist Louise Manifold that re-enacts the 2011 discovery of the Moytirra deep-sea hydrothermal vents.

Build Your Own Unknown sees the school children use images and footage from the ROV Holland I for inspiration to recreate the discovery of the gigantic rock formations, ‘smoking’ lava vents over 10m high, and areas teeming with unusual species new to science at the Moytirra vent field in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, some 3km below the surface north of the Azores.

Louise Manifold, the local artist leading the project, said: "As an artist I have always been fascinated by relationship between science and cinema, where often our connections to ocean is formed through our childhood imagination, from sci-fi films to childhood games and mythical stories.

“Build Your Own Unknown is not only about understanding our connections to the ocean, but it is about valuing human curiosity, and I am really enjoying the opportunity to work with the pupils of Cregmore to make an amazing piece of work that celebrates this."

Supported through the Marine Institute's Explorers Education Programme and the Tulca OFFshore programme, the marine science/art collaboration is welcomed by Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan.

"This is an innovative opportunity for artists, marine scientists and educators to engage and increase our awareness about the value, opportunities and societal benefits that the ocean provides us,” he said.

"Rediscovering the mystery of the ocean through the eyes of a scientist, the children have been given the opportunity to work with the Institute and Dr Andy Wheeler from UCC, who was the chief scientist on the research vessel RV Celtic Explorer, that had explored and aptly named Moytirra vents after a mythological Irish battlefield meaning plain of pillars.”

Build Your Own Unknown will be on show at SeaFest 2017, Ireland’s national maritime festival from 30 June to 2 July, which will promote the importance of ocean exploration as well as engage the wider community through visual arts.

The project will also include the development of cross-curricular education lesson plans and resources that teachers will be able to use for their own art-science project module. These will be available later this year at www.explorers.ie.

Published in Marine Science

The Marine Institute's has announced that over five hundred teachers and 15,000 primary school children will benefit from its Explorers Education Programme this year. Recent expansion in funding has enabled outreach centres in ten counties around Ireland, to triple the number of teachers and children being introduced to marine themes in the classroom.

Providing the opportunity to learn about the importance of engaging with the sea, and strengthening our marine heritage and identity, the Explorer education officers introduce marine biodiversity and marine environmental awareness and care into the class room through a range of exciting STEM marine based modules including aquariums in the class, seashore safaris, as well as marine projects and workshops.

Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute congratulated the new centres on a successful delivery of the Explorers Programme in the last six months saying "increasing our awareness and understanding of the value, opportunities and societal benefits the ocean provides us is key to sustainably developing Ireland's marine resource which is ten times the size of its land mass."

As the state agency responsible for marine research and innovation "we welcome the opportunity to work with educators to promote the development on our thriving marine economy as well as protecting and conserving our rich marine biodiversity," Dr Heffernan further said.

The need for education in the marine sector at all levels is highlighted by Ireland's Integrated Marine Plan Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth noting Ireland's marine sector is a vibrant part of our national economy. Ireland's Ocean Economy SEMRU, NUI Galway report states that Ireland's marine economy in fisheries and seafood production, maritime transport, marine tourism, as well as in emerging sectors and research and development has a turnover of €4.5 Billion annually, providing over 16,000 jobs directly and 13,000 related jobs in the general economy, providing an additional €3.3 Billion in turnover annually.

The centres representing the Explorers Education Programme™ were selected as part of a national procurement process and include Leave No Trace, Redrose Developments, Galway Atlantaquaria, Loophead Summerhedge School, Seasynergy Marine Awareness and Activity centre, Lifetime Lab, Oceanics Surf School and Marine Education Centre and SeaLife Bray. The centres are located in Sligo, Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Clare, Kerry, Cork, Waterford, Wicklow and Dublin. Free lesson plans, teachers resources and more information about the Explorers Education Programme™ is available at www.explorers.ie

The Explorers Education Programme is supported by the Marine Institute, and funded under the Marine Research Programme by the Irish Government.

Published in Marine Science
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