Over the last few weeks, Loughs Agency’s Education Team have been busy informing and educating pupils and teachers within the Foyle and Carlingford catchment areas about our waterways.
Education Officer Michael Cosgrove made several visits to St Marys College to help Year 11 and 12 students with some practical water quality assessments, using samples from both strong and weak water quality sites as a comparison exercise.
Michael talked about the history of Loughs Agency as well as the work the Agency does across the Foyle and Carlingford Catchments, before finally delivering a presentation on the Science of Water.
The workshops delivered by Michael helped the students complete their Science BTEC and afterwards the school showed their appreciation by sending a thank you card.
Education Officer Michael Cosgrove visited Eglinton Community Pre-School to deliver a marine show and tell.
Michael talked to the children about Ocean literacy and marine biodiversity, before giving them a chance to look at different shells, seaweeds, and marine objects.
Michael also took some of Loughs Agency’s inflatable marine life, which proved to be the star of the show!
Education Officers Michael Cosgrove and Jack Porter visited Castlederg High School Year 8 pupils to deliver a lesson on the Science of Water as part of their Living Things day.
With one session in the morning and another in the afternoon, Michael and Jack engaged with 80 first year students, offering them an introduction to the Agency and teaching them about the important work the Agency does in and around the local rivers. This was followed by a presentation on the Science of Water, which allowed the children to better understand the hydrological cycle and the biodiversity within our rivers.
A sample of river water was brought into the classroom as the pupils got the chance to have a closer look at the macroinvertebrates that live within the river. The Education Team divided kick samples into separate trays and distributed these across the classroom. The pupils were then tasked with identifying the different invertebrates using ID sheets with Cased caddisflies being the clear favourite.
This task developed their understanding of the importance of water quality and the role that macroinvertebrates play within the ecosystem of the river. To conclude the day, pupils got the chance to use the salmon life cycle board game which is both fun and educational.
The school was delighted with the workshop leaving this feedback:
“Pupils had a brilliant river workshop where they dipped below the surface of our local rivers right from the comfort of our own Assembly Hall! They found out about invertebrate life in the river and about the lifecycle of wild Atlantic salmon”.
Education Officer Jack Porter and Fishery Officer Richard Farrow visited Omagh County Primary School for a Science of Water workshop.
Jack and Richard delivered a presentation on the role of the Agency and the importance of water quality. They then split the 40 Primary 3 pupils into separate groups and asked them to identify the macroinvertebrates in their tray. This was followed by a talk from Richard on the importance of protecting and caring for our local waterways.
Education Officer Jack Porter delivered Science of Water workshops to six schools who had completed the Something Fishy project.
The project taught pupils across the River Finn catchment about their local waterways, aiming to heighten awareness of the Agency’s role within Conservation & Protection, as well providing teachers the tools to educate children on the lifecycle of the salmon.
The schools that completed the Something Fishy project were as follows:
Education Officer Jack Porter returned to St Baithins National School, one of the schools that participated in the Something Fishy project, to deliver a workshop to the Senior Infant and First-Class pupils on the Science of Water.
Afterwards the pupils engaged with some local macroinvertebrates, were taught the importance of protecting rivers and learned all about the various lives that exist within their local streams and waterways.
The children found the workshop very engaging, asking excellent questions and showing a desire to learn more about the local environment.