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Only Half Of Irish Classrooms Now Have Nature Tables

A survey undertaken by ‘Biodiversity in Schools’, Ireland’s biodiversity youth training organisation, has found that nature tables, once a key part of every Irish child’s education on our native flora and fauna, are increasingly not a feature of Irish classrooms. The research found that almost  half (46%) of teachers surveyed stated that nature tables are no longer present in their classroom.

The findings were issued to mark the launch of the Pollinator Project by Biodiversity in Schools, a social enterprise focused on increasing awareness of the importance of Ireland’s biodiversity, and SIRO, the wholesale broadband operator. The initiative was formally launched by Minister for Biodiversity Pippa Hackett T.D. in Dublin’s Saint Stephen’s Green Park.

The Pollinator Project aims to raise awareness amongst school children of the important role of pollinators such as bees, butterflies, moths and hoverflies in the pollination of flowers and supporting food systems. Free nature kits and workshops are provided by Biodiversity in Schools to give teachers and students resources to increase their knowledge of pollinators and how to support them.

Survey results:

  • The research project with 100 teachers found that 46% do not have a nature table in their classroom.
  • Of those that do not have a nature table, the dominant reason cited was a lack of space in their classroom to accommodate one.
  • When teachers were asked if they themselves had a nature table as a child, an overwhelming majority of 90% acknowledged that it had been part of their own educational experience.
  • When asked how children can improve their knowledge of nature there were a variety of responses including bringing nature back as a dedicated subject on the curriculum; creating more opportunities for kids to experience nature first hand in a school setting or access to more resources and external experts in the classroom.

Commenting on the Initiative, Minister for Biodiversity Pippa Hackett noted:

“Healthy ecosystems are vital to our future, so it’s critical to do everything we can to ensure children have an understanding and an appreciation of the importance of nature. Aside from its educational benefits, I have no doubt from my own memories as a child and from my experience as a parent that this project on pollinators will bring huge enjoyment to so many children and teachers around the country. I hope everyone involved enjoys the last few months of the school year and gets out and about spotting and identifying bumblebees and other pollinators.”

Director of Biodiversity in Schools, Mark Nolan stated:

“It’s never been more important for our young people to engage with nature – to both help their local biodiversity, but also experience the wellbeing benefits of spending time outdoors. We’re delighted to have SIRO support the Pollinator Project again this year, enabling us to get biodiversity resources out to schools around the country”.

Outlining SIRO’s support for the Initiative, CEO John Keaney stated:

SIRO’s fibre connectivity enables more sustainable living by allowing more people to live and work locally. But we are conscious that all businesses must play a part in helping communities protect our natural environment. Giving the tools to the next generation to do that is key. This initiative supports the great work which Biodiversity in Schools undertakes in increasing awareness and respect for the importance of Ireland’s biodiversity”.

The Pollinator Project is now open for applicants. Schools and teachers who are interested in participating in the Pollinator Project Initiative can find out more details here.