Five local schools, Dunluce Secondary School, Bushmills Primary School, Straidbilly Primary School, Ballytober Primary School and Dunseverick Primary School have joined forces with Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust (CCGHT) and Eco-Schools to mark the start of the #Big Spring Clean season. The children enjoyed taking part in a series of outdoor activities, including a litter pick, a pollinator walk, rock pooling and a beach scavenger hunt.

The Causeway Coast is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and CCGHT have produced a five-year action plan which aims not only to conserve the natural environment but to raise awareness and increase access so that people can better enjoy the area’s unique biodiversity and landscape.

Tiérna Mullan, CCGHT Project Officer explained the rationale for the environmental day; “Through this partnership event we hope to educate the young people about the Causeway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Eco-Schools programme.   One of the most effective ways of teaching and connecting children with nature is to take them out of the classroom and into the landscape. Over the next three years further projects and events will be undertaken by CCGHT in partnership to restore, protect and recognise the outstanding Causeway Coast landscape”.

Charlene McKeown, Eco-Schools Manager for environmental charity, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said; “It’s important that children get a chance to not only enjoy their local natural surroundings, but to learn about the importance of conservation and respect for the natural world. Getting up close and personal with insects and tiny marine animals really opens their eyes to the wonder of nature. While it’s great to watch Sir David Attenborough on TV, it’s even better for kids to get out on to our local beaches and see and explore nature at close range! That’s what the Eco-Schools programme is all about; hands-on, transformative outdoor learning that’s also beneficial for the children’s well-being.”

Dunluce Secondary School teacher Lisa McAuley said; “A fantastic morning out for our pupils. They really enjoyed the presentation and gained new knowledge of our coastal environment. They had lots of fun on the beach, and it was great to see them so engaged in the litter audit. A tired but happy group returning to school”.

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