20 schools participated in the two-day Green-Schools Marine Environment Conference in The Royal Marine Hotel, Dún Laoghaire. The annual event, which is in its fourth successful year, began yesterday on Wednesday, January 29th. The conference, which focuses on the value of our marine environment, was opened by Dr Michael John O’Mahony, Director, An Taisce Environmental Education Unit and Conall O’Connor from the Marine Environment theme’s sponsor, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. Attending the conference as the keynote speaker was world-class Wildlife Presenter and Author, Nick Baker, who delivered an inspirational presentation of his many adventures exploring strange creatures from the watery depths of our seas and Oceans.

Connal O'Connor Marine Conference 2020

Connal O'ConnoNick Baker Marine Conference 2020

Green-Schools Manager Cathy Baxter welcomed the attending schools:

“This National Conference is one of the highlights of our year. We have such a strong connection to our marine environment in Ireland, it’s a joy to celebrate it with these inspirational students and teachers today. We are so grateful to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government for their support and to our wonderful guest speakers for joining us.”

Throughout the conference, each participating school exhibits a project relating to an issue concerning marine life. ‘Wellbeing at the sea’, ‘Climate Change and the marine environment’ and ‘Microplastics’ are just some of the topics selected for these projects. Students from Dominican College, Sion Hill; St. Columba’s Girls National School, Cork; Ashbourne Community School and Glór na Mara N.S., Tramore, Co. Waterford, delivered presentations to the audience of their school’s extensive work on the Green-Schools Marine Environment theme.

Marine Conference 2020

During a series of activities delivered by Green-Schools Officers, including listening to ‘the sounds of the sea’ and ‘colour in the coral reef’, students gained a deeper insight into the importance of conserving the Marine Environment.

Towards the end of the event students were transported back in time to a seafaring world with the Howth Singing Circle who led the group in a lively chorus of sea shanties!  To conclude the day on a positive and resonating note, students were motivated by a ‘call to action’ to collectively value and protect the marine environment.

The Global Citizenship Marine Environment is the eighth theme of the Green-Schools programme. In advance of working towards the Marine Environment green flag, schools have been awarded green flags for Litter and Waste, Energy, Water, Travel and Biodiversity as well as the two maintenance green flags Global Citizenship Litter and Waste and Global Citizenship Energy. Across Ireland there are over 4000 schools registered on the Green-Schools programme and with over 900,000 young people actively contributing to the Green-Schools programme for a more sustainable future.

Marine Conference 2020

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