Exploring Irish wetland habitats: EPA launches new schools’ resources

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a new teaching resource to support Post Primary Schools in exploring wetland habitats such as rivers and lakes, turloughs, bogs and fens.


Speaking at the launch, Tadhg O’Mahony, Senior Scientific Officer, EPA said,


“Rich in biodiversity, wetland habitats provide a wide range of benefits and services.  Wetlands have an important role to play in flood relief, landscape, regulation of the water cycle and the provision of water for drinking supplies, agriculture, industry, recreation, transport and fishing.




“The EPA is pleased to provide curriculum relevant resources on this topic, adding to a range of online environmental resources already available for teachers.  The exercises and activities in the new wetland habitats resource use an inquiry-based approach to learning.  They are designed to animate the issues for students, encouraging them to learn about the science that is all around them in the Irish environment.”




The EPA consulted with experts and collaborated with teachers to develop Wetland lesson plans. The Irish Ramsar Wetlands Committee provided valuable assistance in developing the resources. Teachers can access and use video comprehensions, lesson plans, a file of press cuttings and a range of exercises and scenarios for debates, role plays, map work and field studies.




The Wetlands Habitat resources are one of 19 modules in the EPA’s resources for Post Primary schools entitled 2020 VISION: A Closer look at Ireland’s Environment.  Each module uses short video clips from the popular EcoEyeseries hosted by Duncan Stewart as a starting point.  The new Biodiversity in our Wetlands module includes the following specific lessons:


  • The CSPE lesson is particularly strong in relation to role play activities and highlights the importance of wetlands to local communities. Students are encouraged to become active citizens through exercises that allow them to explore how development affects individuals within their local community. Specific exercises encourage students to develop arguments, debate issues and participate in a democratic election.



  • The Transition Year Geography Lesson focuses on three key ideas: the importance of protecting and maintaining Ireland’s biodiversity; the environmental and economic importance of Ireland’s rivers, lakes and other wetlands, and the role of wetlands in flood relief, landscape, farming and the water cycle.  It includes video comprehension activities and extension exercises such as letter writing and the design of posters, presentations and newspaper front pages.



  • The Junior Cycle Geography Lesson provides exercises to help students to learn about the role of wetlands in human activity and the importance of biodiversity in this setting. Exercises include an investigation of press coverage about wetlands included in a file of press cuttings.



The Biodiversity in our Wetlands resource materials are available for download on the EPA website in both Irish and English.



The full set of EPA resources for Post Primary schools are also available at 2020 VISION: A Closer look at Ireland’s Environment set of resources. These are tailored for teachers of Transition Year, Geography, Science and CSPE classesto allow students to explore a range of environmental issues including clean water and air, sustainable resource use, climate change and biodiversity.






EPA Schools’ Resources: The EPA has produced resources for both primary and second level schools.  Lesson plans are designed to provide schools with curriculum relevant approaches to exploring current Irish environmental issues and data.



Link: www.epa.ie/researchandeducation


World Wetlands Day: The Annual World Wetlands Day is the second of February 2014.


The Irish Ramsar Wetlands Committee: The Irish Ramsar Wetlands Committee was set up by the Government in November 2010 to assist Ireland in meeting its requirements as a signatory to the Ramsar Convention. Membership is drawn from a variety of relevant government agencies, scientific and technical institutions, regional and local authorities and non-governmental organisations. The primary objective of the Irish Ramsar Wetlands Committee is to promote the wise use and protection of all wetlands in Ireland. It aims to:


  • Raise the profile of all wetlands and their value in Ireland
  • Develop national wetland polices, and to provide advice to policy makers
  • Support wetland education and public awareness of wetlands
  • Promote the implementation of the Ramsar Convention in Ireland
  • Ensure that the above objectives are consistent with the Ramsar Convention and with approaches taken by other national Ramsar Committees across the globe


Link: www.irishwetlands.ie

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