Galway’s kids went wild to discover the inner learning of the natural world around us at the Go Wild summer camp this year.
The goal of the Go Wild nature camps is to connect children with their local environment, and to show them the biodiversity that exists all around us.
This year’s summer camps involved field trips, surveys to locate and record wildlife and close encounters with different animals, as well as games and challenges designed to explore environmental topics in a fun and informative way.
In order to give kid’s the best possible perspective on all parts of nature, the Go Wild camps were a collaborative effort involving BirdWatch Ireland, Galway County Council, the Vincent Wildlife Trust and GMIT, through funding provided by the county council and the Heritage Council.
John Lusby, organiser of the Go Wild camps said: “No matter where we are, there is wildlife all around us, but it is all too easy to forget this.
“We give the kids a helping hand, but essentially the idea is that they themselves get down and dirty and find and identify local wildlife.”
“It is amazing to see their reactions as their senses of discovery and inquisitive natures are ignited, all while they are actively learning.”
The effort put into the Go Wild camps, which entered their second year this summer, has already been recognised by the Heritage Council.
Last year the potential of the camps was seen at the National Heritage Awards where Go Wild took home the ‘Cool for Kids’ award.
This year it was decided to expand the topics the camps explore beyond just nature and wildlife by including elements of local history and archaeology.
Heritage in Schools specialist Bernie Doherty led this side of the programme, which included archaeological digs.
It’s hoped that this side of the programme can be brought to other nature camps in Galway next year, and hopefully further than that.
The nature camps also to bring together different groups that all seek to serve their local community; research and conservation groups, as well as local communities, families, and of course, children.