Following the onset of Covid 19, Cork County Council has been supporting community groups to explore alternate means of engaging with their environmental projects, resulting in many workshops and education initiatives moving online. One such project, the Scoil na Mara series of videos, exploring Irish seashore biodiversity and the importance of the ocean, has proved very popular and now features on the RTÉ Home School Hub.
Initially intending to deliver the workshops in schools, organiser Mairead O’Donovan, adjusted the project to fit new circumstances, creating short educational videos which were posted weekly online to support teachers and students in adapting to new ways of learning from home. The videos were all filmed in the Ardfield area near Clonakilty, on Red Strand and Long Strand Beach.
West Cork native, Mairéad is a UCC Science graduate (BSc. Zoology) who has worked as a marine research assistant for UCC and for the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group. For several years she has been working in the field of ocean literacy and marine education.
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Ian Doyle, said
“The Scoil na Mara series is both an exploration and celebration of our seashore biodiversity and the importance of the ocean! The format is great for children and adults alike, with an engaging learning experience. Children get to accompany Mairead on a seashore visit, discovering interesting facts about nature and seashore life. The project promotes a special connection with our coastal and marine biodiversity. This kind of project which encourages respect and appreciation, for our beautiful coastline in County Cork and the value of our natural environment, is great.”
Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey commended the project saying,
“This community education project has proved very successful. Cork County Council, along with the Department of Communication, Climate Action and the Environment, provided both initial funding for the originally planned in-school workshops and then supplementary funding to support the development of the online videos. It’s great to see the popularity of this video series, reflecting the wealth of biodiversity on our shores. We are very proud of our beaches here in Cork and having recently been awarded 8 Blue Flags for beaches, 2 Blue Flags for Marinas and a record14 Green Coast Awards we have good reason to be.”
The Scoil na Mara video series is available on RTÉ home-school hub https://www.rte.ie/learn/home-school-hub/ or follow Scoil na Mara on social media @scoilnamara
See www.corkcoco.ie for details of Cork County Council’s FREE online Environmental Education workshops available to community groups across the county.