24th October 2022: Pupils of Scoil Cholmchille primary school in Malin, Co Donegal have been presented with the inaugural national prize for the Marine Institute’s Explorers Ocean Champions Award by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD, today 24th October 2022.
Congratulating the pupils, Minister McConalogue said “the Explorers Ocean Champion awards recognises the effort, commitment and collaboration of the children, their teachers and the wider community, working together to learn about the importance of the ocean, as well as our unique maritime culture and heritage. I warmly congratulate all of the children of Scoil Cholmchille on winning this award for creating what is a unique and inspirational project and wish to thank their teachers and members of the local community in Malin who assisted them”.
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, reaching up to 3,500 children and 124 teachers across 13 coastal counties, creating ‘healthy ocean’ projects covering themes from STEM, outdoor education, through to the arts and ocean literacy.
Minister McConalogue added, “I am delighted to see so many schools from across Ireland participating in the programme and I want to congratulate all the children who completed Ocean Champion projects around the country. Projects such as this enable a shared understanding of the impact the ocean has on our lives, as well as the impact we have on the ocean and helps to ensure that we are better informed to protect and manage this valuable resource.”
School principal Mary Harkin welcoming the award said; “We are absolutely delighted to have won the national prize for the Explorer's Ocean Champion Award. Our pupils are innately interested in the maritime heritage of their local coastal area and are keenly aware of the importance of the sea, as a life- giving source, as well as being very conscious of the dangers inherent in making a living from the sea. We view this award as testament to the close working, supportive relationship between the school and the local community and we would like to dedicate this award to all those from the area who have lost their lives to the sea.
For their project ‘Save our Seas’, the children learned about the links between the local community and the marine environment. They also engaged in real marine science activities taking and examining plankton samples from the ocean, learning the lifecycle of salmon, and also studying local seaweeds. The children created songs, ‘Save our Seas’ posters and engaged with local traditional boat builders led by John Bonner and their community, to learn about boats and local fishing practices”.
The Marine Institute Funded Explorers Education Programme has been delivering marine-themed modules to classes for nearly 15 years. The Explorers outreach team brings together scientists, teachers, outreach teams and communities together, inspiring the education network to create marine leaders and ocean champions.
Patricia Orme, Corporate Services Director, Marine Institute said: “Collaborative school projects that involve the community and which have cross generational engagement such as this one, build understanding of the ocean and our unique maritime heritage. I want to congratulate the children and teachers from Scoil Cholmchille and also thank the local Community for their enthusiasm and generosity in sharing their knowledge and experience. We also want to congratulate the other teachers and children who took part in the school projects around Ireland. From beach cleans, working with musicians to create impactful songs, to creating public notice boards at beaches, all of the projects highlighted the importance of our marine resource and enabled communities working together to come up with inspiring solutions."
Awards by Category:
Overall winner of the Marine Institute’s Explorers Ocean Champion School 2021-2022: ‘Award of Excellence for the Best Healthy Ocean’ school project in Ireland: Scoil Cholmchille, Malin, Co. Donegal.
Award of Excellence – Outdoor Education: S.N. Réalt na Mara, Rosses Point, Co Sligo - ‘The H.O.M.E Project’
Award of Excellence – Ocean Literacy Creative Project: Scoil Réalt na Mara, Cill Orglan, Co Kerry - ‘We are Ocean Champions’
Award of Excellence – Cross Curricular & STEAM: Scoil Iósaif Naofa Oranmore Boys NS, Oranmore, Co Galway - ‘Ocean Award Because We Care’
Award of Excellence – Cross Curricular & STEM: Rathmichael Parish NS, Rathmichael, Co Dublin - ‘The Marine Team’
Judges Award: Claddagh National School, Galway City, Co Galway - ‘Our Oceans, Alive and Healthy: Song and Podcast’
Strategic Education and Communications Manager
(Marine Institute's Explorers Education Programme)
Mobile: + 353 (0) 87 9185519
About the Marine Institute Explorers Education Programme:
The Explorers Education Programme provides outreach activities, resources and supports teachers and educators to increase awareness, engagement and an understanding of Ireland’s marine biodiversity, the environment, as well as the opportunities and social benefits of our ocean wealth.
The Explorers Education Programme is fully funded by the Marine Institute, Ireland’s State agency for marine research and development. It is managed by Camden Education Trust and includes outreach centres that deliver marine classes in primary schools around Ireland: Leave No Trace – Ireland; Galway Atlantaquaria, Sea Synergy, Old Cork Waterworks – Lifetime Lab, Oceanics, and Saltwater Kids.