What is SeaKeepers?

The SeaKeepers Project is an initiative of the Green-Schools Global Citizenship Marine Environment theme, which provides primary school teachers with a suite of free exclusive resources and lesson plans focusing on the ecology of six native Irish marine animal and plant species. There are two suites of resources available:

  • SeaKeepers Junior for Senior Infants/1st Class (New!)
  • SeaKeepers for 3rd/4th class

The resources for both age categories focus on the same six species but are adapted to suit the target audience. The long-term goal is that students who complete SeaKeepers Junior will revisit these species in SeaKeepers for 3rd/4th class, and so get a very solid understanding of these species. The SeaKeepers Project is available to schools currently working on, or previously awarded, the Global Citizenship: Marine Environment theme.

In order to measure the effectiveness of these resources, we ask teachers to complete our Species Identification Survey with ten randomly selected students from the class once before, and once after, delivering the lessons (further information below). One class nationally will be selected for a free beach exploration workshop in their area in June 2020 (pending Covid-19 health and safety guidelines), the winning class will be selected at random from classes who complete the species lessons and submit their repeat survey results by the deadline of Friday 7th May.

Why marine biodiversity?

Our oceans, and our planet as a whole, are increasingly threatened by the current mass extinction crisis and climate change. Ireland has an extremely rich marine environment, but our marine species are suffering the effects of human-driven climate change, pollution, and overfishing among others.

As well as this, researchers are increasingly exploring the links between time spent in nature, having a sense of connection to nature and human mental health and well-being; and the positive impacts the natural world can have on our state of mind.

We believe that to really care about something you must first be aware of it, and have the opportunity to develop a personal, emotional connection to it. We hope that by increasing students’ knowledge of and interest in the animals and plants living near and in our seas, they will develop a personal appreciation for the coasts, for nature in general, and will be inspired to make more sustainable choices as they grow older, as well as improving their own wellbeing.

What are the resources?

Teachers that submit completed Data Recording Sheets (further information below) will be emailed access to the free SeaKeepers Resource Pack for their class level, which includes six interactive lesson presentations, as well as a background information sheet, video links and activities relating to six Irish marine species. These materials will be relevant for the Living Things and Environmental Awareness and Care strands of the SESE curriculum.

How do we take part?

SeaKeepers applications for the 2020/2021 academic year have now closed. Please check back in September 2021 to apply for next year’s project!

2020/2021 participants: if you have submitted your data collection sheet(s) you will have received an email with access to the SeaKeepers resources. Teachers should aim to complete all six species lessons before the Easter holidays. The same ten students who were surveyed initially should then be re-surveyed after Easter and the repeat survey results submitted by Friday 7th May. Further information on this will be sent to participating teachers closer to the time. All participating classes will receive a certificate and one lucky class will then be selected to receive a beach exploration workshop next June provided by Green-Schools staff (Covid-19 restrictions permitting)!

For any queries please contact Caoimhe at cobrienmoran@eeu.antaisce.org

Testimonial

It

[the SeaKeepers Project] is an excellent programme… The children have showed so much enthusiasm for the programme and are finding it extremely interesting and enjoyable… This programme has opened the children’s eyes to the native species on our little island. As we go through each lesson the children start to relate the material back to visits to the beach they had during the summer months… This is why this programme is so valuable, it highlights and raises awareness for topics that are not in our current SESE programmes.

Eilis McCabe, St Brigid’s NS, Co. Kildare; participating teacher in the SeaKeepers Project pilot, Spring 2019.

SeaKeepers Project Beach Exploration Workshop June 2019