Omagh Academy were the latest school to complete the Foyle & Carlingford Ambassador Programme after a week of engaging and educational workshops across the Foyle catchment. 20 young people (aged 12-14) were selected across different classes to join the 5-day environmental education programme. They are the first Omagh based school to sign up to the programme since the schools programme began, hopefully initiating a ripple effect to recruit more local schools in the future.
Several workshops were carried out throughout the 5-day programme where Ambassadors built up environmental knowledge, skills and awareness for the outdoors focusing on the role LA has in conserving and protecting local waterways. Ambassadors had the opportunity to build vital connections to their wild places (meeting local deer in Gortin Glen) and experience activities that many have not had the opportunity to do so previously, further emphasising the importance of outdoor education.
"I have got to know these places by walking through rivers, seeing their wildlife and learning about them. I have experienced them by exploring them, looking at shells on the beach and looking at fish from the river. I have learned about habitats." - Ambassador
Overview of the week in pictures
Day 1: Introduction Day @ Strule Arts Centre with river walk led by Seamus (Director of Conservation & Protection)
"I have conducted citizen science in the areas, learnt about what lives there and explored the areas. We conducted kick net surveys, fished and beach combed. I have found out about what inhabits the areas and how to keep the areas clean." - (Ambassador)
Day 2: Angling CAST Intro with FROG @ Birchwood Fishery
Day 3: Habitat Study @Gortin Glen Forest Park
"We described an eel and it was slimy and wet, We walked though the forest and learned about the forest, we also saw a fawn." - (Ambassador)
"We learned that brown trout & salmon can live in small rivers and salmon live in the river then the travel to sea and back to where they came from in the river." - (Ambassador)
Day 4: Coastal Day @Benone Beach
"I liked looking at the details on the seashells and seaweed. Picking up litter was a great way to keep the beach clean and preserve it. The views and the cleanness and peacefulness of the beach was very special."
" I liked learning about the sea/beach. I didn’t know a lot of things before."
"I am trying to use less plastic and be more ecofriendly. I have learnt a lot and plan to pass some of the information onto my family - (Ambassadors)
Day 5: Team Building @Gortin Activity Centre
"I got to meet new people i have never talked to and also got to enjoy and learn about nature."
"I have talked and given facts to my friends and family about my experiences."
"I told my family about the experiences and nature makes me feel peaceful and calm."
"I discovered Gortin Glenn, Birchwood fishery, Benone beach + the Foyle catchment. I like how biodiverse they are. Plants and animals can run free and they have balanced ecosystems. They are special because of the thriving unique species and ecosystems." - (Ambassadors)
A brilliant week outdoors and a huge thank you to Omagh Academy and all staff who helped with prep and delivery of programme.
"All the students (and the staff that attended) really enjoyed the programme and got a lot out of it, they'll remember that week for a long time!" - (Teacher)
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org If your school is interested in taking part. We will begin recruitment in the new year for the Foyle & Carlingford 2024 Schools programme and early Spring for the Foyle & Carlingford 2024 Summer programme.