20th June

Learning about the environment through storytelling

An NUI Galway Ryan Institute project will see 20 children’s books, written and illustrated by this year’s sixth class students of Galway Educate Together National School, reach global audiences through the EcoScience Writers in Schools project.

EcoScience Writers

The cover of Dolphin’s First Day, designed by sixth-class students of Galway Educate Together National School

The goal of this unique project is to create a set of fun and informative teaching resources by supporting the students to write a story for their younger peers on an environmental subject of their choosing. The class wrote about creatures of the North Atlantic Ocean, incorporating facts into their fictional prose in a way that was both entertaining and educational.

“When I applied for the funding, I had a good idea of its potential, but really it has far surpassed my expectations. The students, and their teacher Barry McGuire, completely committed themselves to this project and the proof of that is in the products!” remarked Dr Sarah Knight, project leader.

The book, Dolphin’s First Day, opens with a scene of a mother nudging her new-born to the surface to take his first breath. In The Seamount, all sorts of creatures emerge from the habitat to help Gobby the goblin shark scare off the nearly invisible cranchiid squid that is threatening some of the creatures with her greedy appetite. And The Gannet and the Smart Fish is a global tale of one hungry seabird’s quest to fill her tummy.

“This is a fantastic project led by a fantastic person. Having produced a resource like this that anyone in the world can read is where we see the future of our outreach education going. The fact that we can produce such a high quality product for teachers in classrooms all over the world is very rewarding indeed.

“It is projects like this that put the Ryan Institute on the international stage. We expect a lot of people to use these materials, and by doing so it will increase visitor traffic to our main website to learn of the high quality research that is going on here in the West of Ireland,” remarked Prof Colin Brown, Director of NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research.

EcoScience Writers is funded by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government under the Local Agenda 21 Environmental Partnership Fund, administered through Galway City Council.

Further information: www.ecosciencewriters.com

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