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#MarineScience - Irish Sailing’s Cara na Mara programme teamed up with the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme this month in encouraging primary schools to engage with the marine environment.

Clubs involved with the programme, that aimed to offer “a dynamic learning experience” while also enjoying sailing, included Galway City Sailing Club, where Joss Myers offered a blend of ocean literacy and beach cleanup followed by Topaz sailing in Galway Bay.

At Howth Yacht Club, Quest with Sarah Robertson integrated her hands-on learning in STEM and how it applies to sailing, and each child got to sail on the J80 club sailing fleet.

Rathmullan Sailing Club with Aengus Kennedy looked at the flora and fauna in their local beach habitats and used their fleet of Bahias to go on trips exploring the Donegal coastline.

And at Foynes Yacht Club, Elaine O’Mahony looked at integrating environmental awareness and marine literature and history while sailing club boats in the maritime village.

Irish Sailing hopes that many of the students who trialled the Explorers element will come back over the summer to start their Cara na Mara junior courses as part of their sailing pathway.

For further information on this initiative, contact Ciarán Murphy at 087 880 0744 or [email protected].

Published in Marine Science

#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

#MarineScience - Over 20 Transition Year students participated in a wide range of activities at the Marine Institute as part of Engineering Week this past week from Monday 27 February to Friday 3 March.

For the third annual TY training week at the Marine Institute headquarters in Oranmore, the fourth-year pupils from Mayo, Galway, Kerry, Cork and Tralee increased their understanding of and interest in marine science, research engineering and technology careers.

Scientists and staff from the State agency responsible for marine research and innovation welcomed the opportunity to share their passion and insights across a wide range of areas in the marine science and maritime sectors.

Ireland's marine sector is a vibrant part of our national economy and the need for education in the marine sector at all levels is highlighted by Ireland's Integrated Marine Plan, Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, according to Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan.

“Increasing the student's knowledge and engagement with marine careers in science, technology and innovation, as well as the sustainable development and management of our marine resource, is key to support Ireland's ocean economy, where highly qualified and skilled professionals are needed in the coming years,” he added.

The annual TY training course offers students an intensive week of shadowing scientists and staff learning about marine science, technology and engineering as well as a range of diverse supporting disciplines.

Promoting ocean literacy, the students took part in interactive experiments involving IT applications, marine environment and food safety, fisheries sciences, research vessel operations as well as advanced mapping, maritime development and communications.

The students found themselves working with hairdryers, balls and vinegar learning about data collection to how human industrial activities affect the increased levels of carbon dioxide in the ocean.

Interactive activities included dressing up in wet gear, forming sand sculptures of shipwrecks and working on group poster presentations provided learning opportunities that extended their skills and interests as well as raising their awareness about the ocean.

“With the training week fully booked out, we were delighted to see the increased levels of interest and understanding of the marine and the direct benefits of the communications and team building training that form an essential part of this rounded programme,” said Marine Institute HR manager Catherine Quigley-Johnston.

The programme aims to ensure a diverse and well-educated generation of marine scientists and researchers for the future, she added.

“The feedback from students confirms the need for industry and third level institutes, as well as State agencies to promote training and access for young people in marine and maritime careers.

“The training programme also highlights the effort and willingness of the Institute's staff to share their areas of expertise with the younger generations. This is what helps makes TY open days and training weeks so successful,” said Quigley-Johnston.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineScience - The Explorers Education Programme has recently launched a free continuous professional development (CPD) course for primary school teachers in the West of Ireland, which can be carried out during Croke Park hours.

The new CPD course provides an "exciting opportunity for teachers to develop interesting ways of introducing cross-curricular ocean themes into their school planning, class activities as well as seashore fieldwork,” said Dr Noirin Burke, education director at Galway Atlantaquaria.

The course uses a number of key education methodologies, including inquiry-based learning and fieldwork planning, that links to the national curriculum. The course is flexible in which it can be carried out at Galway Atlantaquaria, Salthill Promenade, Galway or at the school.

Dr Peter Heffernan, chief executive of the Marine Institute – which funds the Explorers progamme – congratulated Galway Atlantaquaria for delivering the CPD course in Galway.

"We welcome the opportunity to support educators and teachers through the Explorers Education Programme recognising the importance of our personal connection with the ocean.

“The ocean has a significant impact on our wellbeing, health and economy and it is great to see this being picked up in the classroom."

To book a place or for more information, email the Explorers education team at Galway Atlantaquaria at [email protected] or call 091 585 100.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineScience - The Marine Institute is set to open its doors for its annual Open Day on Wednesday 23 November from 9.30am to 3pm.

The Open Day at Ireland's national agency for marine research, technology, development and innovation is especially aimed at second level students from Transition Year to the Leaving Cert cycle, their teachers and parents.

Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the state-of-the-art facilities on offer in Oranmore and to meet with researchers and scientists and hear about their careers in the marine.

They will also get to see some of the institute’s innovative work through a series of interactive exhibitions, including seabed mapping, research vessel operations and oceanography, as well as in fisheries and the marine environment.

There are three two-hour sessions available for student groups on the day: 9.30am to 11.30am, 11.15am to 1.15pm and 1pm to 3pm.

Places are limited, and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. To book, contact Kathleen Sweeney at [email protected] before Friday 28 October.

Last year the Marine Institute hosted some 300 Transition Year students during Science Week as part of the Galway Science & Technology Festival, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Marine Science

#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland completed the first week of its pilot 'Water Project' for post-primary schools last Friday 30 September.

Ninety students and teachers from four second-level schools in Co Fermanagh are engaged in water-based learning activities on Lough Erne as part of the two-week pilot educational project which concludes tomorrow (Friday 7 October).

Pupils and teachers from St Fanchea's College, St Aidan's High School, Devenish College and St Joseph's College undertook the two-day programme at Waterways Ireland's headquarters in Enniskillen, where they took part in biodiversity workshops and discovered some of the many fascinating water-based creatures, birds and aquatic plants that exist along the shoreline of Lough Erne.

They also rowed a 33ft currach in the Bronze Age style, and learned the techniques of angling, before diving into kayaking and a heritage workshop in Fermanagh Castle Museum earlier this week.

Initial feedback from both students and teachers has been positive, according to Waterways Ireland, which adds that at the end of the two-week pilot all feedback from partners and participants will be gathered to inform an evaluation report and future development of the project in the months ahead.

​The Water Project has been developed and implemented in partnership with Row the Erne; Erne Paddlers; Inland Fisheries (DAERA) and the National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland; Fermanagh Castle Museum; RSPB and the Ulster Wildlife Trust.

​Waterways Ireland has ongoing educational work with primary schools centred on the waterways. The Water Project aims to promote awareness and knowledge of the importance of Lough Erne and access to its many recreational activity opportunities for secondary students.

Published in Inland Waterways

#MarineScience - Dublin City University's St Patrick's Campus and the Marine Institute ran a pilot marine module with over 40 student teachers this week, giving them an opportunity to learn about teaching marine science and Ireland’s marine heritage.

Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan welcomed the collaboration with DCU to introduce themes relating to the marine environment into the science module.

“We recognise the unique position teachers have to help students develop an understanding of our amazing ocean resources," he said. "We hope these teachers will inspire curiosity among their students to learn more about the ocean and to develop an understanding of how we influence the ocean and how the ocean influences us.”

With a focus on a 'Marine Day' on 20 April on campus and in and the wider university, the oceans, seas and shorelines around Ireland present many opportunities to introduce marine themes into a range of cross curricular lessons,” explained Dr Thomas McCloughlin lecturer and lab manager of science at DCU's St Patricks Campus.

The Marine Institute provided a saltwater aquarium as well as a tidal tank for the modules, showing how bringing the seashore to the class provides an exciting way to learn about marine animals typically found on the seashore.

The programme was delivered to over 40 second- and third-year student teachers and included a field trip to the seashore and a range of interactive presentations in class.

“Student teachers get to explore the seashore through field trips as well as analysing specimens through examination and dissection in class. This allows them to integrate examining the biological themes of the marine as well as introducing social, physical-human and geographical influences relating to understanding and ocean resource,” said Dr Noirin Burke of the Galway Atlantaquaria, representing the Marine Institute’s primary school Explorers Education Programme.

Ireland has a seabed territory of approximately 880,000 sq km, 10 times greater than the size of the island of Ireland, making this one of the largest maritime member states of the European Union.

“Therefore, with Ireland being responsible for such a significant ocean resource, it is considered fundamental to teach Irish children, particularly as we are an Island nation, the historical and cultural values as well as the geographical and scientific backgrounds of our marine environment,” said Cushla Dromgool-Regan, responsible for the strategic development of education at the Marine Institute.

The pilot is supported by the Marine Institute and the Explorers Education Programme, which aims to build on Ireland’s marine and maritime heritage by increasing awareness of the value, opportunities and social benefits of our ocean wealth and identity.

The pilot was supported by Explorer Education Centres, Galway Atlantaquaria, Blackrock Education Centre and Sea Life Bray. For more information about the Explorers Education Programme see www.explorers.ie.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineScience - Applications for the Explorers Education Programme are now open for primary schools in Galway, Clare, Mayo and Sligo that wish to take part in marine-related activities and workshops for the 2014/2015 school year.

“With over 50 primary school groups participating in the revised programme last year in Galway, we are delighted to announce the revised modules are now also being offered in Counties Clare and Mayo," said Explorers education officer Dr Noirin Burke, who added that "with support from Sligo Education Centre, we are also extending a pilot programme of Explorer workshops to be held at the centre.”

The new module system allows for more students and teachers to get involved in marine projects, seashore safaris, having aquariums in the class, or taking part in a number of exciting marine workshops involving maths, engineering and science.

Teachers can send their applications to their local educations centres in Counties Galway, Clare, Mayo and Sligo highlighting how the Explorers Education Programme will be beneficial to their class, school and community.

The modules include:

  • Explorers Aquarium in the Classroom: This involves students running a saltwater aquarium of native species for up to four weeks in their classroom.
  • Explorers Marine Project: Students will learn about materials and energy and forces, using the theme of 'the marine and our ocean'.
  • Explorers Seashore Safari: Accompanied by the Explorers education officer, the students will visit their local shoreline to examine the plant and animal life present and their adaptations to life.
  • Explorer Workshops at Galway Atlantaquaria: Workshops will be carried out at Galway Atlantaquaria between October 2014 and February 2015, which include maths, engineering and science.

There is also a module for primary schools in Co Sligo. whereby Explorer workshops will be carried out at Sligo Education Centre by the Explorers education officer, introducing students to the marine through experiments and hands-on activities.

For more information about the modules and workshops, please see the Explorers Marine Education Programme Application Form. For further queries contact Dr Burke at [email protected].

The Explorers Education Programme continues to run in Dublin and Cork in association with Blackrock Education Centre, Sea Life Centre Bray and the Lifetime Lab Cork. More information about their workshops will be issued later in the year.

Explorer teaching materials are available to download free of charge at www.explorers.ie

Published in Marine Science

#COASTAL NOTES - Surfers Against Sewage will be taking their environmental education programme to Northern Ireland next week, as online surfing magazine Drift reports.

The team are set to visit up to 15 schools, universities, youth groups and sports clubs in coastal communities across Scotland and Northern Ireland in a whistle-stop five-day tour from 1-15 October.

The sessions will give all involved information on the threats facing their local beaches and coastlines from littering and pollution, and what action students can take against them.

Lessons cover Surfers Against Sewage's campaigns on sewage pollution, marine litter, climate change, toxic chemicals, shipping and wave protection - and feature and interactive environmental board game called Marineopoly where students can put into practice what they've learned.

Drift has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
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