For the second consecutive year Timahoe NS were award winners at the BT Young Scientist Exhibition Primary Science Fair, with a project entitled “Esker or Sandpit? Who’s heard of Timahoe Esker?”
As a result, one of the county’s best hidden gems has now been placed very firmly on the map having taken centre stage at the RDS.
The idea for the project came about when the children discovered that the Esker on their doorstep is one of only two statutory reserved eskers in Ireland, and is regarded as one of the most intact.
They suspected that this was a little known fact and did surveys to prove it. When one student’s granddad said “that’s not an esker, it’s a sandpit”, the children decided that action needed to be taken to inform themselves, the school community and the general public about the importance of Timahoe Esker, in terms of history, geology and diversity of its flora and fauna.
Through the INTO Heritage In Schools scheme they had access to renowned ecologist Gordon D’Arcy over a series of five school visits.
Following extensive research in the classroom, Mr D’Arcy guided the children on a number of fieldtrips to the esker, where they got to identify a huge array of birds and their songs, native trees, rare and not so rare flowers and animal homes. They also found fossils and saw evidence of layering.
Back in the classroom, they documented their findings, and began work on planning and designing an Esker-In-A-Box – a large scale cross-sectional model detailing the various aspects of the esker, from formation to current day use. They also created a power point birdsong slideshow.
With survey results proving a marked lack of awareness of and appreciation for Timahoe Esker, the enthusiastic students were determined to bring about some changes.
Their first target was the National Parks and Wildlife Services - guardians of Timahoe Esker and the second part of their improvement plan involved holding a public information evening, with Gordon D’Arcy as guest speaker.
The well attended meeting was held at the school hall and received very positive feedback.
Presenting the Environmental Awareness and Appreciation Award, the adjudicator praised the Timahoe students “for their obvious passion for and commitment to, bringing about real change for the benefit of all”.
He also praised the school staff for not ignoring “the very best of science on your doorstep”.
School Principal Ann Bergin was thrilled with the project and results.
“This project is a very large piece of work and I am immensely proud of the standard of the work undertaken, and of the display on Saturday, where the visitors to our stand complimented the professionalism of the presentation in addition to the depth of the research”.
“The day itself was a total success as the pupils presented to visitors and adjudicators with ease and confidence, as well as soaking up the excitement of an outstanding BT Young Scientist Exhibition. All pupils are already anticipating what next year might bring! Congratulations to all pupils in 5th and 6th and to Ms Mulhall and Ms Mulhare for all their time and work”.