Twenty young people from Inishowen recently received recognition for their achievements on completing a 10 week marine and environmental skills programme coordinated by the Inishowen Basking Shark Study Group.
The training programme (which was funded by the EU LEADER programme through the Inishowen Development Partnership and Donegal County Council) ran from March to May, focusing on exploring the coast and learning more about local marine life through science and environmental discovery.
The trainees gained a range of skills and knowledge, which they showcased to family and friends via a 'Takeover' and celebration event at Fort Dunree last week. Trainees received certificates in marine and environmental skills, as well as personal skills development. Speaking at the celebration event, Andrew Ward, manager at the IDP, said, "Young people living in coastal communities in Inishowen have had the opportunity to embrace the great learning opportunities that are available to them on their doorstep. Making a connection and fostering a deeper understanding of our coastal resources is important in order to create environmental leaders for the future."
During this experience, young trainees had the opportunity to work with local environmental and marine experts. This was to show the significance of local research on the global stage and where a potential career in the marine and maritime industries could lead.
Rosemary McCloskey, a local marine biologist and course facilitator, said, "It was a privilege to run a course like this in my own home town. Inishowen has a rich maritime heritage and connection with the sea worth preserving. Giving young people the skills they need to work in the marine sector insures this legacy is continued."
Emmett Johnston, coordinator of the Inishowen Basking Shark Study Group, shared a similar sentiment: "As a result of the programme these young people have a better understanding of the coastal environment as a community resource, and how an enigmatic animal such as a shark can provide a symbol for the wider health and protection of our marine life."
You can find further details on the conclusion of the programme here.