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Marine Science



Explorers team launch new ‘turtle talk’ educational resources.  The Marine Institute Explorers Education Programme team recently took part in the launch of a series of new primary school education resources, Explorers: Turtle Talk with Sea Turtles at their recent team training held in Laois.

Patricia Orme, Corporate Services Director, Marine Institute, congratulated the Explorers team involved in creating the resources:

“The books, presentations, and short videos all provide teachers with practical content to help develop children’s competencies It is also great to see that themes that explore how to help reduce plastics in the ocean and how to mitigate climate change are keenly promoted throughout the sea turtle books”.

The resource pack is freely available to download from www.explorers.ie and supports cross-curricular teaching, STEM, and learning about SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).  It includes creating turtle words and mind-maps, writing poems and songs, describing a turtle’s life cycle, as well as making tote bags and turtle toys from recycled fabrics.

It is also wonderful to see the Explorers outreach team’s enthusiasm for creating five life-size sea-turtles ‘far from open water’.

“The five turtles (Leatherback, Loggerhead, Kemp’s Ridley, Hawksbill, Green Turtle) are now being spotted around the country, inspiring sea turtle madness and mayhem. I am sure we will see many more of these magnificent animals being created in the classrooms, inspiring new stories and adventures,” Ms Orme added.

Explorers: Turtle Talk with Sea Turtles is packed with information and facts, and takes the teachers and children on a journey of species identification, habitats, location and lifecycle. It also follows the journey of the five species that have been recorded in Irish waters – some caught in ocean currents and others that purposefully come to Ireland to track their favourite food: jellyfish.

Cushla Dromgool Regan, of the Explorers programme and lead author of the information books, workbooks and presentations, said that she:

“Is delighted with the uptake of the books and eagerness of the outreach team, teachers and children who are planning to use these resources to learn more about the ocean over the next term.”

The books are full of descriptive fun-facts and information about sea-turtles from around the world that will fascinate children and teachers alike.

Scientists now understand that leatherbacks are long-distance seasonal visitors to Irish waters, migrating to temperate waters to feed and returning to their native waters to mate and to nest. The largest leatherback ever recorded was a male, washed ashore in Wales in 1988, weighing in at 916 kg. It measured almost 3 m overall and 2.5 m across the span of its front flippers,” explained Ms Dromgool-Regan.

All turtles found in EU waters are strictly protected under the Habitats Directive which aims to conserve rare and threatened species. Six of the seven species around the world are under threat and now face extinction, and are listed as either ‘vulnerable’, ‘endangered’ or ‘critically endangered’ on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list.

“Many individuals and organisations are helping to promote the conservation of these animals and the habitats in which they live. Engagement at all levels is required to support these efforts. We all have an important role to play in changing our behaviour and caring for our environment, and it is wonderful to see children keen to take up this challenge,” remarked Ms Dromgool-Regan.