Letterkenny Educate Together National School awarded first place among 99 schools and 10 education centres across the country
Letterkenny Educate Together National School has been named winner of the national education programme, ‘Something Fishy’. The students from fifth class were presented with the ‘Something Fishy’ perpetual trophy and a monetary prize by Joe McHugh TD, Minister for Education and Skills, at the school today. During the 2017-2018 academic year, 99 national schools and 10 education centres took part in the programme, reaching approximately 3,000 students.
The ‘Something Fishy’ education programme is an initiative of Inland Fisheries Ireland, in partnership with Blackrock Education Centre, which allows students to learn about fish and the environment in a local context. Students enjoy classroom based activities as well as practical fieldtrips with Fisheries Officers as part of the programme, which is promoted and delivered by education centres nationwide. In addition, students compile and submit projects on their learning for assessment by an independent judging panel.
Letterkenny Educate Together School received the national accolade after being commended for their project called ‘Save Our Schools (SOS)’. The project saw the class build a website aimed at engaging other children and young people to learn about fish and the importance of protecting the fisheries resource. The webpage included digital games and video content, all devised and produced by the children themselves.
Teachers and students participating in the ‘Something Fishy’ programme explore eight different lessons on the fisheries resource, after which they receive a visit from Inland Fisheries Officers who introduce them to their local river and the fish and invertebrates who live within in. Since its inception in 2005, over 50,000 students have participated in the programme.
Minister McHugh said: “I want to congratulate the students and teachers of Educate Together National School in Letterkenny on becoming ‘Something Fishy’ National Champions for 2018. This year’s award is particularly special as we embark, in conjunction with countries all over the world, on the International Year of the Salmon to celebrate the shared cultural and mythological place of salmon in societies around the globe.
Our international scientists and fishery managers will seek to “educate together” and to investigate new and innovative conservation initiatives. I am particularly proud that Donegal, and especially the Letterkenny area, has built up an excellent pedigree in this competition with this year’s Champions following in the footsteps of Gartan NS who won the title last year” he added.
Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “Letterkenny Educate Together really impressed the judging panel with their use of digital communications to highlight significant conservation messages for their peers. I would like to congratulate the children and their teachers, Nakita Burke and Cliona Marley, for showcasing important learnings about the local fisheries environment in such an effective manner. We are delighted that the programme has been so well received here in Donegal and we would like to acknowledge the efforts of our colleagues in Donegal Education Centre and Blackrock Education Centre in that regard.
Inland Fisheries Ireland is committed to educating and engaging the next generation around our natural fisheries resource. The ‘Something Fishy’ programme brings the mysterious world of the aquatic environment to life in classrooms across the country and highlights the importance of conservation and protection of fish and their habitat.”
Jacqui Dillon, Director of Donegal Education Centre said: “Donegal Education Centre works closely with the local Fisheries Officers in raising awareness and developing skills at primary level through the 'Something Fishy' Programme. This is the second year in a row that a Donegal school has won the national award. This is reflective of the commitment of the teachers involved and the keen interest they have engendered in their pupils.
This year has seen the project go to yet another level with a STEM base project - an online learning platform which the pupils have created that is accessible to all. The ‘Something Fishy’ project gives schools an opportunity to raise awareness about their local rivers and lakes and the life cycle of the salmon. The project is cross curricular and draws together geography, science and ICT as well as making the learning fun for all involved with the interactive online ‘Something Fishy’ resources. The Centre is delighted that Nakita and her pupils are ensuring that the national award stays in Donegal - for another year at least!
For more information about Something Fishy visit www.somethingfishy.ie and to view the webpage built by Letterkenny Educate Together National School’s pupils, visit sites.google.com/a/letterkennyetns.ie/sos/home .