Fota Wildlife Park has been awarded the Sandford Award for Heritage Education every year for the past decade.
The Park was announced as this year’s winner on Thursday.
Fota Wildlife Park is one of only three institutions in Ireland who has been awarded the Sandford Award – which is a ‘kite mark’ for high-quality education provision which is acknowledged by schools and other educational institutions.
“We are extremely proud to be chosen as a recipient of the Sandford Award for the last ten years,” said Lynda McSweeney, Head of Education at Fota Wildlife Park, welcoming the news.
“Throughout the last 23 years, Fota’s education programme has gone from strength to strength in relation to both the variety of formal educational modules on offer as well the continual growth in our attendance figures.
“Being recognised as a centre of excellence for heritage education in both Ireland and the UK is a welcome accolade and one that we will strive to maintain over the coming years,” she added.
“Fota Wildlife Park offers an excellent education programme that matches the current Irish curriculum perfectly,” said Sandford Award lead judge Karl Harris.
“It has held the Sandford Award consecutively since 2008 which is a testament to the high quality of sessions on offer.
“There is a strong commitment to natural heritage and conservation issues with a special focus on the biodiversity of Ireland’s flora and fauna,” he added.
“The education team are a highly skilled and friendly group of people and they make every moment stimulating, informative, and fun.” Sean McKeown, Director of Fota Wildlife Park said:
“The Education Department at Fota have been recipients of this very prestigious award for the last 10 years and it is a great testament to the high-quality education provision and professionalism of the Education Department.
“We are delighted to be recognised and awarded in Ireland and the UK for our education programmes that engage, inform and inspire visitors and contribute to an understanding of the local and national heritage,” he added.
The Sandford Award is an independently judged, quality assured assessment of education programmes at heritage sites, museums, archives and collections across the UK and Ireland.
Over 500 sites - including historic houses, museums, galleries, places of worship, gardens, landscapes and collections – have received an Award since the scheme began in 1978.
2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the Sandford Award.
The award will be formally presented to Lynda McSweeney, Head of Education at an official awards ceremony in the UK in November.