The Marine Institute's has announced that over five hundred teachers and 15,000 primary school children will benefit from its Explorers Education Programme this year. Recent expansion in funding has enabled outreach centres in ten counties around Ireland, to triple the number of teachers and children being introduced to marine themes in the classroom.
Providing the opportunity to learn about the importance of engaging with the sea, and strengthening our marine heritage and identity, the Explorer education officers introduce marine biodiversity and marine environmental awareness and care into the class room through a range of exciting STEM marine based modules including aquariums in the class, seashore safaris, as well as marine projects and workshops.
Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute congratulated the new centres on a successful delivery of the Explorers Programme in the last six months saying "increasing our awareness and understanding of the value, opportunities and societal benefits the ocean provides us is key to sustainably developing Ireland's marine resource which is ten times the size of its land mass."
As the state agency responsible for marine research and innovation "we welcome the opportunity to work with educators to promote the development on our thriving marine economy as well as protecting and conserving our rich marine biodiversity," Dr Heffernan further said.
The need for education in the marine sector at all levels is highlighted by Ireland's Integrated Marine Plan Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth noting Ireland's marine sector is a vibrant part of our national economy. Ireland's Ocean Economy SEMRU, NUI Galway report states that Ireland's marine economy in fisheries and seafood production, maritime transport, marine tourism, as well as in emerging sectors and research and development has a turnover of €4.5 Billion annually, providing over 16,000 jobs directly and 13,000 related jobs in the general economy, providing an additional €3.3 Billion in turnover annually.
The centres representing the Explorers Education Programme™ were selected as part of a national procurement process and include Leave No Trace, Redrose Developments, Galway Atlantaquaria, Loophead Summerhedge School, Seasynergy Marine Awareness and Activity centre, Lifetime Lab, Oceanics Surf School and Marine Education Centre and SeaLife Bray. The centres are located in Sligo, Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Clare, Kerry, Cork, Waterford, Wicklow and Dublin. Free lesson plans, teachers resources and more information about the Explorers Education Programme™ is available at www.explorers.ie
The Explorers Education Programme is supported by the Marine Institute, and funded under the Marine Research Programme by the Irish Government.