More than 500 primary school students nationwide had the opportunity to learn about climate change during Science Week thanks to volunteers from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
17 EPA volunteers guided students through interactive climate change workshops over the course of Science Week. These workshops were developed by Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI), with assistance from the EPA’s staff members.
In their work with the volunteers, students learned fun facts about the science of global warming and climate change and its implications in Ireland and across the world. The students went on to participate in hands-on activities which included creating a tornado in a jar and building a weather vane.
The students also heard findings from the latest climate change research which shows that Ireland’s climate is changing in line with global patterns. The clearest trend is evident in the temperature records which show a mean temperature increase of 0.7oC between 1890 and 2008. Another indicator is that six of the ten warmest years in Ireland have occurred since 1990.
Participating schools were Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin, Scoil Barra and Sunday’s Well Boys National School in Cork; Harold’s Cross National School in Dublin 6; Scoil Naomh Colmcille, Louisburgh National School, Ballyheane National School and Ballyvary National School in Mayo; Rackwallace National School in Monaghan and Wexford Educate Together National School, Clongeen National School, and CBS Primary School in Wexford.
The EPA environmental workshop is just one of many opportunities afforded to students thanks to the EPA’s support of JAI since 2016. In that time 134 volunteers have reached more than 3,200 young people through Junior Achievement (JA) programmes designed to encourage young people to remain in education and help them to develop the skills they need to succeed in a changing world.
Óisín Mac Muiris, Teacher in Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin, Ballincollig, Co. Cork, commented on his students’ experience: “Our students thoroughly enjoyed the EPA environmental workshop as it really brought the topic of climate change to life in a fun accessible way. Our EPA volunteers were also great role models from industry who spoke about the connection between the world of work and what the students are learning at school.”
Leo McKittrick, EPA said: “Developing an interest and understanding of environmental issues can start with changing behaviours and attitudes at primary school level, these workshops are an inventive way of engaging with this issue. The EPA is delighted to partner with Junior Achievement Ireland to integrate environmental awareness into fun and accessible workshops which complement the work our volunteers already do through JA programmes in schools around the country.”
Helen Raftery, CEO of JAI, said: “The educational value of students working with role models and getting the chance to learn from them is well-established. Thanks to the EPA, more than 500 students had an exciting opportunity to experience environmental issues brought to life in a real and meaningful way. We are grateful to both our partner schools and the 17 EPA volunteers that helped us to communicate these important messages to young people all over the country.”