© Irish Basking Shark Group
COASTAL EXPLORERS PROGRAMME
2018 | Completed Project
The Inishowen Coastal Explorers Programme was a ten-week programme focussing on marine and maritime skills development in young people living in coastal communities in Inishowen. Through a tailored training programme of science and environmental discovery, young people gained knowledge, skills, awareness and an appreciation of local biodiversity and natural heritage.
Young people had the unique opportunity to complete a Science at Sea training programme, taking on the role of citizen scientists engaging in a range of practical science discoveries such as: surveying wildlife and habitats; taking environmental samples, practical conservation projects, analysing data and sharing their findings and learning with the wider community via their assignments; which include organising and managing an event for the general public and creating publications of their work.
KEY ELEMENTS OF THE PROGRAMME
Weekly skills training on a Wednesday evening and Saturday all day for 20 young people aged 14 - 17
Personal development skills training each week e.g. communication, leadership, team-working, problem solving
Science and research skills each week e.g. conducting a survey, gathering data, boat handling, using equipment, analysing results
Practical skills e..g boat handling, knots, navigation, sea safety
Dissemination and community engagement skills e.g. blogging and organising/hosting a community event
On board practical experience conducting marine science
Showcase event at Fort Dunree hosted by the trainees to demonstrate their learning
A one week intensive further skills traineeship for 10 of the 20 trainees
The Inishowen Coastal Explorers Programme and Sea Science Traineeship was funded by LEADER through the Inishowen Development Partnership and Donegal County Council and ran from January to July 2018. The programme was coordinated by the Inishowen Basking Shark Study Group as part of the groups ongoing education and outreach initiatives within coastal communities in Inishowen. The group conducted a youth consultation in 2017 which advised the overall aims of the training. Local marine/environmental education company Blue Connections run by Rosemary McCloskey was responsible for the development, delivery and evaluation of the training, in partnership with the group.
Trainees were aged 14 - 17 and from across Inishowen. Trainees applied for the programme and were selected via interview process. Trainees had to demonstrate an interest in their local marine environment and an enthusiasm to learn new skills. Trainees had a variety of interests, skills, levels & abilities on entering the programme.
Testimonials from participants:
"Thoroughly enjoyed it from the Wednesday sessions to the more practical elements. It was all very good and well taught, and I do feel I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I am capable of; and about marine biology and the sea”.
“It was great fun. I learned a lot about marine biology. I made amazing friends and loved it so much. I became confident and learned lots of new skills”
For full details on this project you can download the Evaluation report here.