MulkearLIFE yesterday (12 June 2012) completed the third year of its Environmental Education Programme with a wonderful group of students and teachers from Kilcommon National School.
Field trip, Mulkear River, Kilcommon NS, 12 June 2012 (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
The Project’s Environmental Education Programme targets primary and post primary schools within the Mulkear catchment. Today the programme has reached over 1,300 school-children and their teachers. This is something MulkearLIFE and Inland Fisheries Ireland are extremely proud of. It means that in excess of 1,300 people, mostly young local students, have now an enhanced understanding of the work of MulkearLIFE and the importance of riparian habitat and the connectivity of rivers and wildlife corridors. Student participants have also a better understanding of Ireland’s fish species, invertebrates and water quality, the major threat of non-native invasive plant species and an appreciation of the seven principles of Leave No Trace. MulkearLIFE is confident that these young people will be the future guardians of the Mulkear catchment. This is therefore an extremely important investment of time and recourses by MulkearLIFE, with the support of colleagues in Inland Fisheries Ireland, in the future conservation status of Ireland’s rivers and biodiversity.
Kick sampling in the Mulkear River, Kilcommon NS, June 2011 (Image: Catherine Daly)
The Environmental Education Programme involves two engagements – a classroom presentation by MulkearLIFE and a field trip within the Mulkear Catchment. Events take place during the academic year in the hope that the field trips will take place in glorious sunshine in April, May and June. The final field trip yesterday took place in bright but showery conditions. Rain or shine, school children, their teachers and teacher assistants, in schools across Limerick and Tipperary counties have derived great enjoyment from the programme and the river based field trips in particular.
Invertebrate ID, Kilcommon NS, Mulkear River (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
The Programme gives the schoolchildren involved a heightened sense of "environmental ownership" and recognition of the importance of the river catchment as an important natural resource. In particular, it promotes awareness of the catchment and the habitats and species in the rivers and streams. Developing this greater understanding and respect for the flora, fauna and physical habitat is of a great help to the schoolchildren and their teachers to begin to comprehend the positive and negative environmental impacts of our own daily actions.
Removing Himalayan Balsam, Annacotty, Kilcommon NS (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
The Programme highlights the significance of Atlantic Salmon, Sea Lamprey and European Otter in the Mulkear and the conservation issues which surround them in the catchment. The work also focuses on the wider biodiversity surrounding us all and how this can be enhanced and protected through supporting the principles of Leave No Trace.
Field trips to the river put theory into practice as the children learn about the wonderful natural heritage of the Mulkear River. This is done through real practical research; kick sampling for invertebrates, assessing water quality, electro fishing, assessing the impact of invasive weeds, habitat survey work and general fun of exploring rivers and riparian zones.
Below are images from various field trips held during April, May & June 2012.
Reviewing electrofishing results, Cloverfield NS, April 2012 (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
Exploring the riparian zone, Cloverfield NS, April 2012 (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
Kick sampling results, Cloverfield NS, April 2012 (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
Lisnagry NS, at MulkearLIFE Photo Exhibition, May 2012 (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
Doon Convent NS, Bilboa Bridge, April 2012 (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
Tineteriffe NS, Invertebrate ID, Bilboa Bridge, April 2012 (Image: RÓC)
Tineteriffe NS, Upstream on the Bilboa River, April 2012 (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
Who stole the otter poo? Garrydoolis NS, April 2012 (Image: Glen Wightman)
Cappawhite NS, Bilboa River, April 2012 (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
Annacarty NS, Bilboa River, April 2012 (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
Leave No Trace Awareness, Cappawhite NS, April 2012 (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
What’s in the Bucket? Oola NS, Bilboa River, April 2012 (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
Invertebrate ID and assessment of water quality, Oola NS, April 2012 (Image: RÓC)