This education programme is delivered by Leave No Trace Ireland in partnership with Waterways Ireland and engages primary school children, their teachers and classroom assistants.
The participants learn about the River ecosystems and irreplaceable natural heritage on their local Blueways but they also learn how human activity can impact on this precious and invaluable river environment.
Activities such as littering, fly-tipping, trampling vegetation, sliding a kayak down an embankment into the water, walking or cycling off the designated path, noise pollution, water pollution disturbance to natural habitats are all ways in which those using the rivers can negatively impact on its unique flora and fauna.
Whilst the participants learn about and experience the biodiversity in the classroom and outdoors, they also witness and experience how these activities can have an adverse effect and it is instilled in them to be a local hero by minimising these effects and spreading their knowledge and awareness so that others can do the same.
The participants learn about the biodiversity in the waterways through a session called "Nature Connections" which included Animals by Numbers, Food Web and a discussion. This is followed by a Leave No Trace Principles session including activities such as the How long does it take game. The morning part of the programme is designed to engage with the children and provide them with the knowledge, skills and ability to make good ethical decisions about their relationship with nature and the environment.
The afternoon workshop is an experiential outdoor fun workshop designed to enable the children to demonstrate what they learned in the morning session and use their knowledge and skills to understand the impact of their activities and to make decisions to minimise that impact whilst still enjoying their activities with freedom.
Leave No Trace Ireland are delighted to work with our partners Waterways Ireland to design and deliver this programme. Leave No Trace Ireland would like to acknowledge the Local Authorities who have provided funding for this programme
It is envisaged that through educating schoolchildren and staff and instilling these values in them, the attitudes and awareness will filter out to others in the wider local community. This project will work towards positive behavioural change.