MulkearLIFE has been thrilled with the take up by local schools on the project’s Environmental Education Programme the second year of which kicked off this week. As part of project’s Environmental Education Programme last year (2009/2010 academic year) 20 local schools (15 primary and 5 post-primary) were visited from January to March 2010. An illustrated PowerPoint presentation, a quiz and a prize giving ceremony formed part of the classroom engagement. However, it was the half-day field trips, which proved to be the highlight for most schools. Students especially enjoyed identifying fish species from electro fishing, examining and identifying invertebrates like mayfly and stonefly and seeing how these invertebrates could act as water pollution indicators.
This year (2010/2011) 20 schools will again be included in the programme with an initial 7 classroom engagements already completed. The field trips will follow and will be designed to be a student led voyage of discovery where the staff of MulkearLIFE and Inland Fisheries Ireland play a facilitating role. The field trips will focus on the work of MulkearLIFE and through group work explore the major themes of river restoration work, removal of alien invaders, general river / riverbank biodiversity, indicators of otter life along the river, life cycles of Atlantic salmon and sea lamprey, other fish species and invertebrates and water quality indicators. An upstream river walk will also form part of the field trip to discuss how we can enjoy the river environment while lessening our impact by following the seven principles of Leave No Trace.
Last year’s field trips were an over-whelming success with great thanks due to the staff of the various schools, their preparation work and most importantly the fantastic young researchers at both primary and secondary level. It is hoped that this year will be as equally enjoyable.