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, and we are delighted to announce that our SeaKeepers resources are now available both in English and as Gaeilge! 

  • SeaKeepers Junior for Senior Infants/1st Class/2nd Class
  • 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 region in June 2021 (pending health and safety guidelines at the time), 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 13th May 2022. 

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?

  • Teachers must select 10 students at random from their class to complete the Species Identification Survey, this can be done by picking the first/last ten students on the roll or picking names out of a hat. Teachers should make note of which students they have selected, as the same ten students will need to complete the repeat survey later in the year. 
  • For SeaKeepers Junior classes (Senior Infants/1st class/2nd class), selected students should be individually shown a colour printed version (or small computer display) of the Species Identification Survey and asked to name the animals/plants in the pictures as best they can – they can answer verbally and teacher will record responses in the Data Collection Sheet. The survey should not be displayed on the IWB and students should not shout up answers – this is to ensure the students’ responses are not influenced by others. 
  • For 3rd/4th class students, individual Species Identification Surveys can be colour printed and distributed to the selected students and they can write their answers on the sheet, or alternatively answers can be verbally recorded by teacher as above. All answers should be transferred to the Data Collection Sheet by the teacher. 
  • All selected students should answer individually without help and out of earshot of other students and before any lessons are taught with regard to these species. The aim of this survey is to get baseline information about students’ general knowledge of Irish marine biodiversity, it is expected that they will score very low in the species identification survey. Students can answer in Irish or English, but only one language should be used per class. 
  • Teachers record the students’ answers in the appropriate Data Collection Sheet, along with the other requested details and email this to cobrienmoran@eeu.antaisce.org by Friday 22nd October 2021 to receive access to the resources. 
  • Teachers should aim to complete all six species lessons by Friday 6th May 2022. The same ten students should then be re-surveyed, and the repeat survey results submitted by Friday 13th May 2022. Further information on this will be sent to participating classes 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! 

Apply now!

To take part in the SeaKeepers Project 2021/2022 please carefully read the instructions above and download the appropriate documents below. Multiple classes from one school may apply, but each class’s results should be recorded in a separate Data Collection Sheet. Only Marine theme schools, or schools previously awarded the Marine flag are eligible to take part. 

Participating teachers should compile the students’ responses in the Data Collection Sheet and send the completed version by email to Caoimhe at cobrienmoran@eeu.antaisce.org by Friday 22nd October. Please do not return individual Species Identification Surveys. 

 Resources will be sent electronically to registered teachers in early November.  

If you have any queries about SeaKeepers or any problems accessing or using the Data Collection Sheet please email cobrienmoran@eeu.antaisce.org  

Have a look at what we got up to on our SeaKeepers Beach Exploration Day at Tramore, Co. Waterford in September 2021: 

The SeaKeepers Project is an initiative of the Green-Schools Global Citizenship Marine Environment theme, supported by the Marine section of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.