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Gartan National School of Churchill, Letterkenny, County Donegal, has been named the winner of 2017 national ‘Something Fishy’ competition.
The students were presented with the National ‘Something Fishy’ perpetual trophy and a money prize for the class by Joe MC Hugh TD, Minister of State at the Department of an Taoiseach at the school last Friday, 24th November.
The ‘Something Fishy’ programme is an annual educational initiative of Inland Fisheries Ireland, in partnership with Blackrock Education Centre, which allows students to learn about fish and the environment in a local context.
Director, Jacqui Dillon, and Siobhan Martin, of the Donegal Education Centre facilitated the programme in the Donegal area.
Minister McHugh was fulsome in his praise for the winning school and those who assisted in its success: “There could not be a more appropriate setting for a winning school than one sited in such an idyllic setting surrounded by nature on the shores of Gartan Lake, and it is wonderful to have the presentation in the school itself here today. Winning the overall national award is a reflection of the great support of the Director of the Donegal Education Centre, Jacqui Dillon and her staff, and of the hard work the Principal, Caroline Carey, Class Teacher, Clare Murray, and all the pupils’ efforts in putting together a wonderful and engaging project which demonstrated clearly the awareness and appreciation the children have for their natural environment.”
Suzanne Campion, Head of Business Development, Inland Fisheries Ireland, highlighted the importance of focusing on young people: “Educating, and engaging with, young people is a key element of the work of Inland Fisheries Ireland, so we are delighted to work in partnership with Blackrock Education Centre and so many wonderful people and organisations all over the country as part of the national ‘Something Fishy’ programme and competition. Building on the classroom visits of Assistant Fisheries Inspector, Mr Owen Kelly, the students explored their local habitat, discovering so much about their local streams, rivers and Gartan Lake itself. Something Fishy brought their local environs into the classroom and gave the children hand first-hand experience of the animal and fish life that live locally.”
The 2017 ‘Something Fishy’ programme saw 3,390 children from across the country taking part in 113 schools and 9 education centres nationwide. Eight different lessons were studied in the classroom before the students were visited by Inland Fisheries Ireland staff who introduced them to ‘river life and its surrounds’. End of term projects were based on something learned from the ‘Something Fishy’ experience. The students were invited to submit digital class projects with special reference to Inland Fisheries Ireland’s involvement.
Since the inception of ‘Something Fishy’ in 2005, approximately 50,000 children have participated in the initiative which aims to promote interest and understanding in fish and their habitats.