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Well known environmentalist and broadcaster Éanna ní Lamhna shows pupils from St Anne’s School little insects caught in her umbrella during the Spraoi le Chéile, Learning Through Nature, event in John O'Sullivan Park, Ennis.

Clare schools work together to help create biodiversity app

A CREATIVE cluster, involving three Ennis primary schools, culminated on Friday with the launch of a biodiversity app, writes Jessica Quinn.
Cairde an Dúlra, which was developed by David and Colm Forde features artwork by children from St Anne’s School, Knockanean National School and Ennis CBS Primary.
The three schools participated in the Creative Cluster, a two-year project that operated under the banner, Spraoi le Chéile.
Biologist and environmental consultant, Éanna Ní Lamhna, was the special guest at the launch in John O’Sullivan Park, Lees Road, Ennis.
Artist, Ana Colomer, was the cluster facilitator for the project, which operated under the wing of the Clare Education Centre and their director, Ray McInerney.
Ana explained that the biodiversity app has an orienteering theme and encourages children to learn about animals and trees.
“It has two levels, which makes it inclusive and open to all. There are 10 locations on the app and on each location, the children have to enter a code to unlock the games.
“They have to complete all 10 locations to win. There is an aspect of physical exercise and movement, going from one spot to the next to complete the challenges,” she explained.
David Forde said that himself and his brother Colm really enjoyed creating the biodiversity app.

“Our challenge was to make an app that got children moving and learning about biodiversity. In
designing the app, we made sure to make it really easy to use, so that a junior infant could play it and at the same time a sixth-class pupil would enjoy it and learn from it too.
“It is loaded with images and questions that the children produced and that is such a great addition to the app,” he said.
Mr McInerney said that the work of the pupils and staff of St Anne’s, Ennis CBS and Knockanean schools was “an outstanding example” of how Creative Clusters can promote new ways of working and collaboration between schools through the medium of the arts.
“This project has provided an opportunity for staff and pupils across the three schools to
experiment, innovate and collaborate on a creative learning project,” said Mr McInerney.
“The Spraoi le Chéíle cluster enthusiastically embraced this project and sought to create opportunities for young people to connect, communicate and interact though creative learning.
“It is even more laudable that this project achieved so much, despite the restrictions of Covid-19. The Creative Clusters project has sown the seed for innovation and creativity in participant schools and the work of the Spraoi le Chéile cluster epitomises the possibilities of collaboration and creativity.
“The management committee of Clare Education Centre are delighted to be associated with Creative Clusters and warmly congratulate the pupils, teachers and project team of the Spraoi le Chéile cluster,” Mr McInerney added.
Another key aspect of Spraoi le Chéile was a Forest School, which was held at John O’Sullivan
Park over an eight-week period, while a visual art module was also a central component of the project.

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