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Carlingford Ambassador Programme Summer 2023

Carlingford Ambassador Programme Summer 2023

Date: 31/10/2023

Congratulations to Loughs Agency's second group of Ambassadors this summer!

The Foyle & Carlingford Ambassador Programme was completed after a week of engaging and educational workshops across the Carlingford Catchment this August. Young people signed up from across the catchment to take part.  A highly rewarding week witnessing a growth in confidence, fears being overcome and connections & friendships developing amongst all Ambassadors - Lots of great memories.

A major aim of outdoor environmental education interventions is to provide individuals with the opportunity of knowing relevant facts about the ecological processes of natural environments, connecting visually, physically & emotionally, which can lead to development of positive attitudes and behaviours toward environmental preservation.

Day 1: Newry Leisure Centre & Cloughmore stone

Topics Included:

  • Loughs Agency: Who we are and our role managing our waterways
  • Local biodiversity & ecosystems
  • Sustainability
  • John Muir
  • Leave No Trace
  • Mapping workshop
  • VR experience
  • Pre Programme Survey
  • Hike to Cloughmore stoneand Carlingford Lough View point

Day 2: Angling CAST Taster with FROG at Cam Lough

Day 3: Fairy Glen/ Kilbroney Park

  • River habitat study/freshwater ecosystems
  • Kicknet sampling & macro invertebrate ID
  • CSSI Macroinvertebrate Survey
  • Electrofishing demo
  • Fishery Officer Q+A
  • Life cycle of the Atlantic Salmon
  • Safety at a river

Day 4: Carlingford shoreline

  • Local marine biodiversity & ocean literacy
  • Litter breakdown time lines & litter pick
  • Citizen Science Surveys
  • Safety at the shore
  • Group Joined by 6 Youth Forum members from Carlingford Catchment

Day 5: Wilderness Survival

  • Team Building
  • Wilderness Survival challenges
  • A number of Youth Forum members once again join
  • Wrap up of programme
  • Programme surveys/John Muir/Certificates

To gain the John Muir Discovery Award, Ambassadors have to complete 4 challenges. and document them throughout the programme. We have highlighted some of their thoughts and comments below:

Discover a wild place:

  • The Fairy Glen at Kilbroney Park I liked seeing all the diverse range of species in the water and what loughs agency is doing to ensure that we preserve our environment.
  • The shoreline. I liked finding the different shells and animals and naming them.
  • I visited forests, mountains, beaches and rivers and I loved to see all the wildlife that lived in those places such as fish, birds and bugs.
  • Cloughmore stone: Visiting Cloughmore stone made me realise how beautiful our surrounding area actually is.

Explore its wilderness:

  • we conducted surveys of different creatures on the coast of the lough and found a multitude of different creatures. i found out different things such as types of seaweed and shells.
  • We explored the beach and found different things around it. I can name loads of stuff now.
  • Fairy glen (yellow water river)- we emerged ourselves in the environment and found the living species within the environment to find out if the river was clean.
  • We have done fishing and macroinvertebrate to get to know fish, bugs and other types of animals. We hiked the mountains to experience them. I've found out loads about what types of wildlife are on the shore such as crabs, seaweed and anemone.

Conserve & take responsibility:

  • In Carlingford we did a beach clean this made me realise how even small pieces of rubbish can add up and cause harm to animals and people. In future I will make sure to keep myself and others around me to the leave no trace standard.
  • We took responsibility by conducting our own beach clean-up which was very successful. This will help ensure that life on land and sea stays safe.

Share your experiences:

  • I have made several new friends I got to try lots of new activities I want to go out fishing more and try new thing after doing this course I was already very interested in the wildlife, doing this course has deepened my interest.
  • I’ve shared my experience of the past week with my parents. I’ve showed people the photos I’ve taken throughout the week. I’ve thought about the environment and the impacts we have on it. Nature makes me feel calm and relaxed.
  • I have shared my experience of wild places with my friends and family through word of mouth and to social media through pictures. Wild places have made me think about my impact on the environment and have truly made me feel happy and calm.
  • I have shared with my friends and family. Wild places make me feel very safe.

A huge thank you to all staff who helped with prep and delivery of programme!

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

21 April 1926 to 8 September 2022