Rathmichael National Parish School is celebrating science week with a big win, after being awarded the Marine Institute’s Explorers Ocean Champion Award of Excellence for the best ‘Cross Curricular & STEM Award of Excellence’ project that involved beach cleans and a unique interactive marine trail in the school.
Celebrating the award, Reverend Seán Hanily, chair of the school board, welcomed the Explorers team Cushla Dromgool-Regan, Mona McCrea and Nóirín Burke and guests including Cormac Devlin, Fianna Fail TD for Dun Laoghaire; Mary Hanafin – Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire, Rathdown County Council and her colleague Cllr Jim Gildea, as well as the former 6thclass students who had been involved in this project.
Highlighting the importance of engaging in projects that raise awareness about the ocean, Reverend Hanily said: “Over 3,500 children took part in this nationwide primary-school initiative organised by the Marine Institute’s Explorer Education Programme. Rathmichael National Parish School was one of the six winning schools and the only school in Dublin to win a top award. This is a significant achievement.”
School principal Caroline Senior explained that 6th class teacher Susan Crammond developed beach cleans and workshops with Mona McCrea and involved ‘Flossie and the Beach Cleaners’, the marine environmental charity.
“The children created a marine trail to teach younger classes about how to protect the ocean, especially regarding rubbish. Not only was this fun it was also very educational for everyone. This hands-on learning is so valuable and is better than any book they might read on the same topic.”
Cathlaoirleach Mary Hanafin said she was delighted to see the children receive the Explorers Ocean Champion award in recognition of their work, and encouraged the children to keep protecting the marine environment:
“This is particularly relevant during the week when world politicians are meeting to discuss climate change. This healthy ocean project shows that it is just as important for children to take the lead in creating environmental awareness and to engage others in solutions at local level.”
Cormac Devlin TD further congratulated the school: “Living so close to the ocean we are influenced by it in many ways. It is wonderful to see how the children worked with the Explorers team to raise awareness about looking after the local seashore.
“By being proactive in sharing an understanding of the impact the ocean has on our lives, as well as the impact we have on the ocean, we all become better informed to protect and manage this very valuable resource.”
Councillor Jim Guildea who had been involved in the project to talk about local and government environmental policy said the award was “well deserved” having witnessed the school’s enthusiasm and passion for the marine.
Susan Crammond added: “The children were an enthusiastic group who put a lot of work into creating their project and quizzing politicians on local environmental issues. We’re immensely proud of their amazing efforts and know that they will continue to be keen environmentalists as they move to their secondary schools and beyond!”
“Rathmichael National Parish School was one of the six winning schools and the only school in Dublin to win a top award. This is a significant achievement.”