Explorers Education Programme a highlight at international CommOCEAN Conference

Cushla Dromgool-Regan with Anna Quinn and Dr Noirín Burke from the Explorers Education Programme based in Galway, getting ready to distribute the My Explorers Seashore Guide Workbook now also available in Irish Mo Threoir Don Chladach Leabhar Oibre to schools taking part in the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme. Photo Joe Regan. The Marine Institute's Explorers Education Programme publication My Explorers Seashore Guide Workbook was recently presented at the 4th International Marine Science Communication Conference CommOCEAN, highlighting the successful launch of the publication earlier this year, connecting children, parents, teachers and the media with the seashore in Ireland.

Supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular the SDG14 to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources, the timely publication of the children's workbook has been an anchor in helping encourage the new, novice and lapsed explorer to head to the beach and start exploring the seashore species, seaweeds, as well as cleaning our coastlines of litter.

Speaking at the conference Cushla Dromgool-Regan, Explorers Strategic Manager and Communication lead from the Camden Education Trust, and author of the book said that "to really engage and be passionate about caring for our marine environment, it is said that we need to be able to see it, hear it, feel it, smell it and taste it. Therefore, with over half of Ireland's population living 5km from the coast in Ireland, the seashore is the perfect playground to learn about our ocean. The Explorers workbook can be used to help inspire learning about the shore before, during and after heading to the beach. It can be used by children of 'all ages' to learn about the amazing animals, seaweeds and habitats that can be found our doorstep".

With over 800 copies downloaded in the first couple of months, "I am delighted that the book sparked a keen interest with teachers and parents teaching at home this year, as well as the media's interest in sharing our stories and passion for the sea. The importance of learning, communicating and engaging in decisions about our ocean, starts at home around our kitchen table," Cushla added.

Dr Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute congratulated Cushla on the publication, saying "initiatives such as this help increase our ocean literacy and engagement with the ocean. It is important for marine scientists, professional communicators and educators to work together to ensure that marine educational materials developed for the classroom are inspiring, relevant and accessible for teachers and children. Igniting our passion for the ocean at a young age at home and school helps to ensure everyone is involved in the conversation about the protection and sustainable use of our ocean resource – whether it is on the seashore or out in the deep sea".

The International Marine Science Communication Conference CommOCEAN brings scientists, and communication professional together to learn more about advocating the dissemination, outreach and communication about the ocean. This is now being recognised as an integral part of today's society and is core to creating positive decisions regarding environmental awareness, care and the sustainable development of our ocean.

Announced at CommOCEAN, the My Explorers Seashore Guide Workbook is now published in English and Irish and is freely available to download from the Marine Institute's open access library at https://oar.marine.ie/handle/10793/1592.

The Marine Institute's Explorers workbook was launched earlier this year on the International Biodiversity Day in collaboration with the citizen science project Explore Your Shore! funded by the Biodiversity Data Centre's and the EPA. The Explore Your Shore! Campaign have cited a 107% increase in public engagement, citing species on the seashore's around Ireland - compared to 2019.

Being included in the book as one of the activities has contributed towards people taking part in learning more about the species on the seashore," said David Wall, Citizen Science Officer, National Biodiversity Data Centre.

The Explorers Programme aims to create ocean champions and to do this, we believe it is important to instil a passion for the ocean at a young age, so as to create long-term change in ocean literacy - forming a better understanding of how the ocean has an influence on our lives and how we impact the ocean. The promotion of the book has been further supported by working collectively with the Explorers Education Programme outreach team who annually aim to reach over 12,000 primary school children through a range of marine modules.

As part of our blended learning approach, the book will be used to help deliver a range of marine projects and seashore safaris in 2021. For further information about joining the Explorers Education Programme through our blended learning, online activities and out-door education seashore safari modules, see our contacts at www.explorers.ie

The Explorers Education Programme is funded by the Marine Institute, Ireland's state agency for marine research, technology development and innovation.


Photo caption:
Cushla Dromgool-Regan with Anna Quinn and Dr Noirín Burke from the Explorers Education Programme based in Galway, getting ready to distribute the My Explorers Seashore Guide Workbook now also available in Irish Mo Threoir Don Chladach Leabhar Oibre to schools taking part in the Marine Institute's Explorers Education Programme.

Explorers Education Programme:
Cushla Dromgool-Regan
Education Programme Manager & Communications Lead
(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.dromgoolregan@thecamdentrust.org
Website: www.explorers.ie