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Interactive Environmental Exhibition for Primary Schools at the Clarinbridge Oyster Festival

Cuan Beo, a local community-based organisation, recently organised an interactive education day for schools in the South East Galway Bay Catchment that focused on protecting the local marine environment for future generations.

Gerry O Halloran from New Quay at the Interactive Environmental Exhibition for Primary Schools at the Clarinbridge Oyster Festival.

Children from primary schools in South Galway and North Clare were invited to the Oyster Festival Marquee in Clarinbridge to engage with the local fishing communities and agencies responsible for the stewardship of the aquatic environment in the South East Galway Bay catchment - an extensive area with streams, rivers and groundwater draining into Galway Bay between Renmore Point and Blackhead in Co Clare.

The interactive education day followed the movement of water from source to sea within the catchment. Almost 480 children from 13 schools in Galway and Clare had the opportunity to learn about their local rivers and what they can do locally to protect them. To do this, a number of organisations and agencies established exhibits within the marquee to explain the different aspects of our aquatic resources. These include the Water & Communities Office (water source & river water quality exhibit), the Marine Institute (phytoplankton exhibit), InfoMar (Coastal Mapping Exhibit), Coastwatch & Friends (Plastic Pollution Station), a marine environment station with aquaria provided by Galway Atlantiquaria and local fishermen presenting a shellfish farming exhibit.

Sarah Jane Walsh and Aoibheann Holland Maree National School at the Interactive Environmental Exhibition for Primary Schools at the Clarinbridge Oyster Festival.

In addition, Oonagh O’Dwyer from the Wild Kitchen presented seaweed cooking demonstrations and tastings using local produce throughout the day. To highlight the importance of related skills, local boat builder and fisherman, James Linnane constructed an Oyster Flat Boat on site.

Teachers were also provided with information on Continuous Professional Development courses provided by the Marine Institute and Galway Atlantiquaria. According to the Chairman of Cuan Beo, Mr Diarmuid Kelly, ‘the aim is to raise awareness amongst our local communities to the importance of protecting our aquatic resource, of how the link exists between land and sea communities and how together we can protect our environment, communities, heritage and economy for existing and future generations’.

Roan Downes, and Aisling Stewart from Kilcolgan Educate Together NS at the Interactive Environmental Exhibition for Primary Schools at the Clarinbridge Oyster Festival.

Clarinbridge Oyster Festival Committee Chairman Mr John Killeen said this is a truly great event and we are delighted to be associated with it. It has brought a new dynamic to our festival and we look forward to developing our relationship with Cuan Beo into the future’

The Interactive Environmental Exhibition for Primary Schools event was organised by Cuan Beo, winners Galway Cathaoirleach Environment Award 2018, and sponsored by FLAG West, The Marine Institute, Galway County Council, European Region of Gastronomy, Failte Ireland and the Heritage Council of Ireland.