Irish Sailings Cara na Mara programme recently teamed up with the Marine Institute's Explorers Education Programme to teach children about sailing and marine science through a series of fun activities at the seashore and on the water.
"It was great to be able to give primary school students the opportunity to engage with the marine environment through activities that they wouldn't normally get to do in the classroom" explained Ciaran Murphy, Irish Sailing.
Clubs involved with the programme offered various fun learning experiences while sailing. Joss Myers in Galway City Sailing Club offered a blend of ocean engagement and beach clean-up followed by Topaz sailing in Galway Bay.
At Howth Yacht Club, Quest with Sarah Robertson integrated hands-on learning in STEM showing how science, technology, engineering and maths apply to sailing. As part of the activities provided, 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.
The Foynes Yacht Club, Elaine O'Mahony looked at integrating environmental awareness and marine literature and history, while sailing club boats in the maritime village.
The Marine Institute were delighted with the outcomes from the pilot of introducing primary school students to marine science through sailing. "As part of the Explorers Education Programme modules that we run with centres throughout Ireland build on Ireland's marine and maritime heritage by increasing awareness of the value, opportunities and social benefits of our ocean wealth and identity," explained Cushla Dromgool-Regan, Marine Institute.
"The pilot run by Irish Sailing with the guidance of the Explorers team in Galway is an excellent example of the enthusiasm organisations have wanting to share how the ocean provides us with a wealth of resources at a scientific, economic, social and cultural level, as well as creating active engagement with the ocean, " Ms Dromgool-Regan further said.
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 ciaran [dot] murphy [at] sailing [dot] ie.