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Laois Schools Explore: The Antarctic Project
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Laois Schools Explore: The Antarctic Project

Successful conclusion to Laois County Council & Laois Education Support Centre’s Collaboration

Laois County Council, in collaboration with Laois Education Support Centre, is delighted to announce the successful conclusion of “The Antarctic Project,” an engaging competition that captivated schools across County Laois. This initiative was inspired by the Antarctic Video Series featuring esteemed scientist and explorer, Niamh Shaw, which was exclusive to schools in Laois due to the generous sponsorship of Laois County Council. As an award-winning science communicator, explorer, and engineer, Dr. Shaw was recognized by the European Space Agency as Ireland’s first ‘ESA Champion in Education,’ demonstrating her commitment to inspiring and educating future generations about science and exploration.

The Antarctic Project workshops provided students with a unique opportunity to engage with Dr. Shaw and learn about her upcoming expedition to the Antarctic. Through video blogs, students experienced Antarctic exploration firsthand, gaining insight into the challenges and wonders of this remote environment. Sponsored by Laois County Council, these workshops not only enriched students’ understanding of science and exploration but also highlighted the importance of climate change mitigation in the Antarctic region.

Pictured at the Laois Education Support Centre , Portlaoise, for the “The Antarctic Project” Awards event: Elliot Deffew-Mc Keever ( Emo N.S.) chatting with judges – Liam O’Neill, Suzanne Dempsey and Dr. Niamh Shaw, during the judging process.
Photo: Michael Scully – no reproduction fee

Dr. Niamh Shaw invited schools to join her on this educational and inspiring journey. The workshops aimed to engage students in climate action, space exploration, and environmental awareness. Participants were encouraged to stay tuned for workshop dates and times, ensuring they could be part of a transformative learning experience that inspired and empowered students to make a positive impact on our planet.

During Niamh Shaw’s Antarctic Video Series, sponsored by Laois County Council, schools had an exclusive opportunity to immerse themselves in the wonders of Antarctic exploration. This sponsorship not only facilitated Dr. Shaw’s journey to the Antarctic but also provided participating schools in Laois with weekly video blogs, offering a firsthand look at the challenges and wonders of this unique environment. This initiative celebrated the achievements of 100 female explorers and empowered the next generation of scientists and adventurers.

Pictured at the Laois Education Support Centre , Portlaoise, for the “The Antarctic Project” Awards event: 6th. Class pupils – Robyn Freeman and Sophie Urban ( Tobar an Leinn N.S. ) with their project . Photo: Michael Scully – no reproduction fee

As part of this comprehensive initiative, Laois primary schools were invited to participate in the “Antarctic Project” competition, encouraging students to explore various aspects of Antarctic life and research. Entries were meticulously evaluated by a distinguished panel of judges, including Niamh Shaw, Liam O’Neil, Chairperson, and Suzanne Dempsey, Climate Action Coordinator at Laois County Council, showcasing the dedication and innovation of the young explorers.

The Awards Night, held at Laois Education Centre on Monday, February 19th, was a celebration of achievement. In addition to honoring outstanding projects, attendees were treated to a motivational presentation by Dr. Niamh Shaw, inspiring them to pursue interests in science, exploration, and environmental stewardship.

Pictured at the Laois Education Support Centre , Portlaoise, for the “The Antarctic Project” Awards event: Emma Mc Evoy ( teacher, Cosby N.S.), Suzanne Dempsey ( Climate Action Co ordinator – Laois Co Co.), Alice Brady , Cosby N.S. ( winner of the Primary N.S. Individual Project Award ), Catherine Doolan ( Director, Laois Education Centre) , Dr. Niamh Shaw ( Explorer/ Engineer ) and Liam O’Neill ( Chairperson, Laois Education Centre ) . Photo: Michael Scully – no reproduction fee

The competition seeks to commemorate Dr. Niamh Shaw’s collaborative journey with schools, shedding light on her encounters in extreme environments and the captivating experiments conducted in such unique settings. Projects are encouraged to explore the Antarctic theme through various mediums and formats. However, it’s essential that students are prepared to deliver a concise five-minute presentation, highlighting their research findings and learnings about their selected topic during the Awards Night at Laois Education Centre on Monday, February 19th, at 3:30 pm.

The judging panel, comprised of Niamh Shaw, Liam O’Neil (Chairperson), and Suzanne Dempsey, meticulously evaluated each entry. They were thoroughly impressed by the exceptional quality of the submissions, reflecting the dedication and creativity of the participating students from Clonaslee College, Colaiste Iosagain, Emo National School, Tobar an Leinn National School and Cosby national School.

Pictured at the Laois Education Support Centre , Portlaoise, for the “The Antarctic Project” Awards event: Dr. Niamh Shaw ( Explorer/Engineer), James Madden ( Teacher, Clonaslee College ), Kate Rosney, Clonaslee College (winner of the Post Primary Individual Project Award ), Suzanne Dempsey ( Climate Action Co-Ordinator- Laois Co Co ) – Liam O’Neill ( Chairperson , Laois Education Centre), Catherine Doolan ( Director, Laois Education Centre) , and Samantaha Mc Loud ( Environmental Awareness Officer – Laois Co Co ) . Photo: Michael Scully – no reproduction fee

Suzanne Dempsey acknowledged the outstanding quality of the entrants and the challenging task of judging their submissions. She extended her gratitude to Yvonne Nolan and Catherine Doolan from Laois Education Centre for their warm hospitality throughout the evening and their invaluable support in organizing the weekly online sessions.

After the prize-giving ceremony, Dr. Niamh Shaw took the stage and delivered a captivating and motivational speech, inspiring all attendees to continue their pursuit of knowledge and exploration with unwavering enthusiasm.