Raptor education in Clare Primary Schools
Clare County Council Heritage Officer, Congella McGuire, has released a statement saying that every child in all primary schools within Clare will receive workbooks on Raptors that can be found within the county.
The Heritage Officer stated that:
“The aim of the upcoming information workbooks is to increase appreciation and awareness of the local environment in a fun and appealing way while fostering a sense of the value of biodiversity and a healthy countryside outside the classroom window.”
The Clare County Council along with the help of Birdwatch Ireland, will be providing workbooks and information videos about all Raptor populations that can be found in County Clare. There are two different editions of the workbooks being presented; one workbook for students from 1st to 3rd class and another more-detailed workbook/video for pupils between 4th and 6th class.
The workbooks contain information about local raptor populations in Clare and provides educational aids for each different raptor species found in Clare, in the form of images, ecological information, fun facts and games.
The information videos will show the students how different raptors sound, how they prey and how they fly. Both the videos and workbooks will emphasize the importance of Irish biodiversity and ecosystems in Clare. The aim is to show children from a young age that the environment and animals are very important and give them an insight into what extinction is, with use of Irish examples and positive examples i.e. reintroduction of previously extinct raptor species in Ireland.
Birdwatch Ireland will be providing information sessions at the Clare Education Centre for teachers and students over the next few weeks that will show them how to get the most out of the workbooks and videos. The sessions will include showing teachers and students where they can find extra information on birds of prey in Clare online such as the Birdwatch Ireland website.
This is a promising movement for the Irish education system to improve children’s education regarding conservation and the importance of biodiversity. Although Irish media like RTE have programmes relating to wildlife and biodiversity such as Ear to the Ground, EcoEye and Nationwide, children are more inclined to watch programmes they find more to their own level such as The Simpsons or Family Guy. Therefore, having a more interactive way of learning about local species like Raptors may create a much more positive learning experience for Irish primary-school children.
Interestingly in the U.K., there is an on-going petition to include Natural History as a G.C.S.E curriculum subject for U.K. secondary schools. This petition aims to integrate Natural History into the U.K.’s education system in order to provide more education to their younger citizens on the importance of biodiversity and conservation of species.