Record-breaking 16,500 students attend Fota education programme

Record-breaking 16,500 students attend Fota education programme

Rachael Taylor, Education Officer Fota Wildlife Park, with Eoghan DeLóndra, Callum DeBaroid and Chris O’Hiarlaithe, from Gaelscoil Charraig Uí Leighin, Cork, in Fota Wildlife Park as part of a Transition Year team building module. Fota announced a record-breaking visitor figure of over 16,500 students who attended the formal education programme. The centre has urged education providers to book courses available for the remaining academic year. Picture: Darragh Kane

FOTA Wildlife Park has announced a record-breaking year for student visits, with 16,500 attending its formal education programme during 2018.

The award-winning centre conducts education programmes at the Zoological Park throughout the academic year.

Lynda McSweeney, Head of Education at Fota Wildlife Park, said: “Year on year we have consistently developed our offering to schools and third level institutions by way of presenting complementary programmes covering both the theoretical and practical requirements of the education syllabus.We have the advantage of not only having a purpose-built education complex, capable of hosting over 350 students a day but also, we are a zoological institution set on parkland and woodland with a range of habitats available for ecological assessment courses.

“Most years an average of 15,000 students participate in our formal education programmes. However, last year that figure increased to over 16,500 and we attribute the rise in attendance figures to the diversity of courses available on-site and also the surge in interest in the educational aspect of what zoos and wildlife parks can offer and their link and purpose in terms of maintaining and saving biodiversity.”

Fota is one of only two organisations in Ireland to receive the Sandford Award for Heritage Education, which is recognised by schools and other educational institutions across Ireland and the United Kingdom.

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