Skip to main content

Foyle & Carlingford Summer Ambassador Programme 2023

Foyle & Carlingford Summer Ambassador Programme 2023

Date: 15/08/2023

Congratulations to Loughs Agency's first group of Summer Ambassadors.

The Foyle & Carlingford Ambassador Programme took place across the Foyle Catchment area throughout the month of July.

Young ambassadors attended a series of educational workshops, reviewed natural environments, and studied environmental preservation techniques.

This highly rewarding experience brought lots of wonderful memories, with ambassadors developing their self-confidence, overcoming fears and, most importantly, creating new connections and friendships.

Day 1: Everglades Hotel & River Foyle Boat Trip

Topics Included:

Day 2: Angling CAST Taster with FROG at Ballyheather Fishery

Day 3: Ness Country Park

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

Day 4: Culdaff Beach, Donegal

  • Local marine biodiversity & ocean literacy
  • Litter breakdown timelines & litter pick
  • Citizen Science Surveys
  • Safety at the shore

Day 5: Surfing – Long Line Surf School, Benone Beach

  • Team Building
  • Surfing
  • Wrap up of programme
  • Programme surveys / John Muir / Certificates

To gain the John Muir Discovery Award, Ambassadors must complete 4 challenges and document them throughout the programme.

We have highlighted some of their thoughts and comments below:

Discover a wild place: 

On Wednesday, we visited Ness Woods, a lovely place, full of many different plants and animals (Biodiversity). I especially loved looking at the different insects in the river including stonefly and mayfly. We learnt that the river was very healthy.

Ness woods, Culdaff beach, Ballyheather fishery, Benone beach. They were fun & they are all unique. 

I liked visiting Ness Woods forest, and while there we could do lots of things to help the environment. It seems normal to the public eye, but if you look closer you can see lots of hidden problems and solutions.

Explore its wilderness: 

We did a survey of the river to check the water quality and it was very fun and interesting. We held the fish and even stood in the river too! We found out that the river was very healthy dues to the insects in it. 

We fished for macro invertebrates in the river, these bugs showed us how healthy the river was. We mainly found mayflies and stoneflies. We also watched some Loughs Agency fishery officers electrofishing in the river.

I’ve got to know more about the environment and the species that live there. I’ve experienced the lough by exploring it from an angle I’ve never seen before. I found out rainbow trouts are sneaky and not that greedy!

Conserve & take responsibility: 

I made sure that I left everything exactly as I found, so others can experience the same things that I got to experience, and the plants and animals can continue to live and grow for many years!

We cleaned a beach We picked up lots of litter on a beach.

To make a difference we surveyed the water to ensure the rivers health, so that animals such as salmon and trout can come back to the river year after year.

Share your experiences: 

I have shared my experiences with family and friends. I shared by talking to them about it. I have thought about how much fun I have had the past week. Wild places make me feel calm and peaceful and more connected to nature.

I shared my experiences with my family when I got home by describing in detail what I did and learned that day! I LOVE the outdoors. I want to help preserve it so that future generations can experience it too!

I have talked to my mum, grandparents & sister to show importance of surveying the river and finding out about the work of the Fishery Officers. I thought about how the salmon and trout live in the river. Wild places make me feel happy and I love being in nature.

I’ve shared with my family and told them what I did throughout the week,. I thought about conservation of the lough. Wild places make me feel happy!

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

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

21 April 1926 to 8 September 2022