1 June 2021: On Monday 31st May, a group of students from 5th and 6th class from Kilglass National School in Co Galway delivered their 1.5 metre unmanned mini sailboat called 'Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor' to the Marine Institute's research vessel, RV Celtic Explorer, in Galway Harbour. Marine Institute scientists will deploy the mini-boat from the RV Celtic Explorer into the Atlantic Ocean, near the M6 Weather Buoy, during the AIMSIR (Atlantic In-situ Marine Scientific Infrastructure Replacement) survey.
The mini-boat is equipped with a sail and a satellite tracker, or transmitter, which allows the students to track it as it sails across the ocean and gain a better understanding of ocean currents. This initiative is part of the international Educational Passages programme which connects schools from across the globe through the mini-boat activity.
Congratulating the collaborative effort of the Explorers Education Programme team, Kilglass National school, the infrastructures team at the Marine Institute, as well as Educational Passages in the USA, Patricia Orme, Joint Acting CEO said, "The Explorers mini-boat project is a wonderful example of marine science literacy and citizen engagement with the oceans. It supports the Marine Institute's Oceans of Learning campaign which highlights the value of partnerships essential for sharing marine science with the wider community. For children, this project provides an exciting way of seeing real life examples of how the ocean has an influence on all our lives, learning how the ocean influences our weather and climate, and the types of technology used."
Peter Kane, teacher at Kilglass National School, Galway highlighted that working with the Explorers Education team and Educational Passages has helped to provide children with a better understanding of the ocean through real life hands-on activities. "The project involved more than 100 children in our school. Students have painted and decorated the boat, created artwork and good luck messages, and named the boat 'Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor'. Alisha McHugh from 4th class explained that the Irish term recognises the tradition of fishing in Galway and Ireland."
Thanking the Marine Institute and the Explorers team for coordinating the delivery of the boat and teaching resources, Peter Kane said, "It has been a comprehensive STEM project and cross-curricular in nature. Using the boat as a focal point provides a great example of how teachers can integrate marine themes through a range of cross-curricular activities. This included learning how the boat was built, to covering a range of science and technology concepts using GPS and satellites."
Padraic Creedon, Explorers Education Officer, Galway Atlantaquaria said, "It was great to see the children increasing their understanding of the ocean, completing science experiments and producing amazing class presentations about our ocean. The children also learned about marine biodiversity in the ocean from the smallest microscopic plankton to the largest animals in the world – the blue whales migrating across the Atlantic."
The provision of the boat has been funded as part of the EU Interreg iFADO project, in which the Marine Institute are partners. Engaging in the mini-boat project, the iFADO consortium of researchers are launching five mini-boats this year around the Atlantic from Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, and the UK.
"People all over the world can monitor and track the mini-boats in the ocean, including Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor. The project webpage is available to children, teachers and their classes. This is a really fun way of connecting people, and predicting where the boat may land is part of that experience. At least 11 mini-boats have landed in Ireland since 2009, and some have been recovered, fixed, and relaunched. Currently there are six actively reporting boats in the Atlantic, and some in the Pacific as well. Both the Explorers Education Programme and Educational Passages are absolutely delighted to see another boat leaving Galway, and look forward to seeing how it can connect more people around our world ocean," said Cushla Dromgool-Regan, Explorers Strategic Education Manager, Camden Education Trust.
To follow the mini-boat Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor, visit: https://educationalpassages.org/boats/seoltoir_na_gaillimhe/
The Marine Institute and partners are celebrating our seas and Ireland's marine resource through the Oceans of Learning series. Over four weeks, Oceans of Learning enables everyone to engage with our ocean through a podcast series, short films, news and online resources all about our ocean. To view the host of resources available for Oceans of Learning visit www.marine.ie
Teachers, children and parents can also follow the Explorers Education activities on Facebook: @ExplorersMarineEducation and Twitter @explorersedu for great ideas and fun facts about the ocean. The team in Galway will also be tracking the Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor.
The Explorers Education Programme is funded by the Marine Institute, Ireland's state agency for marine research and development.
Strategic Education and Communications Manager
(Marine Institute's Explorers Education Programme)
The Camden Education Trust
C/o Galway Education Centre
Cluain Mhuire, Wellpark, Galway
Mobile: + 353 (0) 87 9185519
Email: cushla [dot] dromgoolregan [at] thecamdentrust [dot] org
Notes to Editor:
Educational Passages is a 501c3 non-profit whose mission is to connect students around the world to the ocean and each other. Schools and or organisations sponsoring a mini-boat project, can purchase kits with boat parts and supplies. The students build the boat, fill them with messages and mementos, install the provided GPS, and send them out to sea to ride the ocean currents and wind. Students follow the track on the mini-boat's very own webpage, and teachers can integrate ocean currents, geography, and other topics into their curriculum to connect the mini-boat mission. Encouraging further connections, when the boats land, the sticker on them says to bring the boat to a nearby school and connect classrooms from where it was sent to where it has landed. For additional information about Educational Passages, please visit www.educationalpassages.org or call 207-619-1259.
The Atlantic Area project iFADO (Innovation in the Framework of the Atlantic Deep Ocean) is working on the creation of marine services at regional and sub-regional scale using the EU Atlantic Waters as a case study. By filling current technical gaps, iFADO will use the Marine Strategy Framework Directive implementation to demonstrate the application of innovative products. The project will combine traditional monitoring with cost-effective, state-of-the-art technologies: remote sensing, numerical modelling and emerging observation platforms such us gliders and oceanic buoys.
The iFADO project is funded by the European Interreg Atlantic Area program in its first call. Comprising 20 partners from Portugal, Spain, France, United Kingdom and Ireland, the consortium will strengthen the transfer of innovation results to facilitate the emergence of new products, services, and processes. The project commenced in late 2017 with a duration of 48 months and a total budget of €3.6 million.