Marine Institute

Young Scientists Visit Floating Laboratory

November 30, 2003

Marine Institute Flagship Hosts Schools at Greenore

The Marine Institute’s flagship research vessel, the 65 metre RV Celtic Explorer played host to over 300 school children and VIP’s from County Louth at the weekend during a special visit to Greenore organised by the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D.

Children from eleven schools around Greenore, Carlingford and Dundalk were guided around the Celtic Explorer by seventeen young scientists and technicians of the Marine Institute, who had taken time from their International Groundfish Survey for the event. The tour included a visit to the bridge, where some ‘mariners of the future’ had the chance to sit in the Captain’s chair, the fully computerised data processing room, and the aptly-named ‘wet lab’, where a wide range of fish from Irish waters were on display.

Minister Ahern said: "This is a very practical demonstration for schoolchildren of the application of science, and marine biology, in particular. Studies have shown concern at the numbers in schools taking science subjects. I believe that an occasion such as this when we bring students on to magnificent research vessels such as the Celtic Explorer will inspire a deep interest in science. We need to be able to show young people the practical application of learning science. This is how we achieve that aim."

The Minister said he has asked the Marine Institute to continue making its two research vessels available in ports around the coast for access by school children. Over 350 Galway students will visit the Celtic Explorer in early December when she returns to her home port in Galway.

"We were delighted to accept the Minister’s invitation to visit Greenore and to welcome so many enthusiastic students on board," said Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute. "The sustainable development of our marine resources will one day be in the hands of this new generation and the more they learn about the sea in schools the better the future will be for be for this island nation of ours."  

The Marine Institute has already piloted a schools page on the sea at www.marine.ie and has developed a demonstration CD for secondary schools which gives a sample of images from the National Coastline Survey and illustrates how the images can be used to bring the coastal environment to life in the classroom by linking it to the national curriculum. A limited number of demonstration CDs are available to teachers on request.

ENDS