Creating Waves for Sustainability & Biodiversity | Explorers Education Programme and Galway Atlantaquaria

Deep blue knowledge at #SeaFest18


Through the Explorers Education Programme, supported by the Marine Institute, primary school students around Ireland are becoming more aware of the value and opportunities provided by our ocean. Galway Atlantaquaria are one of the Explorers Outreach Centres, and we’re delighted to have the Ireland’s largest native species aquarium as part of SeaFest 2018.

@GalwayAquarium is Ireland’s largest native species aquarium and will have a @explorersedu stand promoting sustainability and biodiversity in @portofgalway for #SeaFest18Click To Tweet

Diving straight in

Galway Atlantaquaria Director of Education Dr. Noirin Burke is looking forward to diving straight in at SeaFest 2018.

“SeaFest is one of the biggest events for us in our calendar year. Our aim is simply to increase awareness about ocean literacy among the general public.

“It’s just a brilliant way to showcase what we’re doing out in schools while sharing our principles in a family friendly way. We really want to create conversations about the ocean and its value to humankind.”

“Join us for deep blue ocean conversations at #SeaFest18. We promise to excite and educate.” Dr. Noirin Burke @GalwayAquariumClick To Tweet

Looking outwards instead of inwards

Dr. Burke understands that most Irish people are familiar with the sea, but says more work needs to be done for them to realise its true importance.

“I personally feel there’s a bit of a nature deficit among society overall, and the ocean is something we can easily take for granted. I think it’s because we tend look inwards and don’t realise how much there is to explore out there.

“So, while people may be aware of goods and services coming into this country through shipping, they don’t realise to what extent, or the quantity.

“Then there’s other things like the important role the ocean plays in oxygen production, or how our climate and weather is influenced by it. The sorts of things that aren’t necessarily taught in science books.”

It’s time for Irish people to look outwards not inwards at the @GalwayAquarium @ExplorersEdu stand at #SeaFest18Click To Tweet

Recycling the important messages

And what about conservation and sustainability?

“Well yes there’s so much that we can cover with people in a nice, easy to follow way. Things like fisheries – so, sustainable stocks, and seafood. Then you’ve got marine literacy, which is our understanding of our impact on the sea such like marine litter. People often don’t think of it coming from a land-based source, like it being carried by the wind for example.

“There’s also ocean acidification, and how increasing carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is affecting the pH of the ocean, with a knock-on effect on marine animals and plants.

“In general, people are very interested to know these things and also to find out how they might help as well.”

We’ll be recycling lots of important message about biodiversity and sustainability at the @GalwayAquarium @ExplorersEdu stand at #SeaFest18Click To Tweet

Fishing for litter

Dr. Burke goes on to say that these themes will be talked about in lots of detail, particular when it comes to the modern issue of plastic in our oceans.

“At the Explorer’s stand at SeaFest, we want to look at a few different themes. I mean, one will be increasing awareness of the biodiversity in our oceans. Another will be looking at ocean acidification. And then we also want to look at how long it takes for materials to break down.

‘By getting visitors to the stand to sieve through sand with bits of litter in it, we will look at types of litter and what they look like as they break down into smaller pieces’. We call it fishing for litter.”

Take the opportunity to go fishing for litter and clean up our beaches at the @GalwayAquarium Stand at #SeaFest18Click To Tweet

Making one small change

Dr. Burke is asking all of us to consider One Small Change.

“We want people to look at changing simple things, like your Keep-cup, your normal china cup, your biodegradable cup, and your standard disposable cup that’s going to end up in the bin, then ask if you would consider changing away from one that becomes rubbish.

“This translates through to a lot of items like plastic bottles, take away food containers, straws and even poo bags for your dog.

“It’s getting people to think about what one small change they can make?? And then address it. And it’s about re-educating everyone on what’s rubbish, what’s reusable, what’s biodegradable and what’s recyclable. So that both kids and  adults are engaged in the conversation.”

We want everyone to make #OneSmallChange with regards to plastic at the @GalwayAquarium @ExplorersEdu stand at #SeaFest18Click To Tweet

Come visit us at SeaFest

So, will the Atlantaquaria be where it’s at over the weekend?

“Definitely, both in Salthill and at the harbour. Our usual tours, feedings and talks will be happening between 10-6 each day at the aquarium in Salthill, and we’ll be bringing some of the aquarium with us, to the harbour. You’ll be able to see some native small sharks and starfish, and other seashore animals at the Explorers Stand in the Kids Zone at Seafest all weekend.


Galway Atlantaquaria are one of many Explorers Education Programme centres based around Ireland

Explorers Education Programme centres in Ireland

Galway Atlantaquaria _ Schools in Co. Galway and programme co-ordination-

Loophead Summer Hedge School – Schools in Co. Clare-

Leave no Trace Ireland – Schools in Co. Mayo, Sligo and Donegal –

Sea Synergy – Schools in Kerry-

Old Cork Waterworks Experience – Schools in Cork –

Oceanics Surf and Education Centre – School in Waterford –

Marine Dimensions – Schools in Wicklow and Dublin –

For more information see