Galway TD and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton has presented the Oceans Champion Award to pupils of Scoil Iosaif Naofa in Oranmore.
The Oranmore Boys School pupils won the best STEM and Cross Curricular award at the Marine Institute’s Explorers Ocean Champion Awards.
Congratulating the children and teachers involved in their healthy ocean project ‘Ocean Aware Because We Care’, Minister Naughton said that they took a very inclusive approach to educating people about our marine heritage and environment.
She added that the efforts made by the children, teachers, and all involved, “shows that this project went beyond the classroom and highlights the value of teaching as a community.”
Minister Hildegarde Naughton added, “The title of the school project called ‘Ocean Aware Because We Care’ is a wonderful slogan, as it represents the importance of learning about our ocean at a local level”.
The children of Scoil Iosaif Naofa learned about the ocean themselves through visits to Galway City Museum, the Atlantaquaria, and activities such as beach clean ups and school visits from the INFOMAR seabed mapping team.
Minister Naughton said that this was a wonderful example of local organisations working with schools to inspire children.
School Principal Maeve Meeneghan congratulated the lead teacher Ms Lillis and the Explorers outreach officer Noirin Burke, saying she was pleased that so many people took part.
“The Explorers Oceans Champions project has been a huge success on many levels where the children have thoroughly enjoyed this project and were motivated to learn and were engaged from the very start.”
“I was delighted that so many teachers and classes came on board and it has been a privilege to support and watch the unfolding of this project here in Scoil Iósaif Naofa.”
As part of the Explorers Ocean Champion Project and Awards initiative, the Programme Manager, Camden Education Trust, and the Explorers Programme outreach teams have worked with 28 primary schools.
Ther project has seen them reaching up to 3,500 children across 13 coastal counties, creating ‘healthy ocean’ projects covering themes from STEM, outdoor education, through to the arts and ocean literacy.
Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute said, “Engaging our communities at a local level about the ocean and its biodiversity is important for the future health of our ocean.”
“The children are our future scientists, mathematicians, engineers, artists, communicators and citizens – and they all need to be ocean champions now and into the future.”