Catchment News

Source to Sea – educational videos and resources for primary schools created by Scoil na Mara in Cork

Source to Sea is a series of primary school educational videos and class room activities about water quality and biodiversity. Scoil na Mara led the initiative, supported by Cork County Council and the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO).

This article was originally published in the Winter 2021 Catchments Newsletter.

Over three episodes of their Source to Sea video series, Scoil na Mara bring viewers on an exploration of different river, estuarine and coastal ecosystems. Highlighting the links between water quality, biodiversity, health, and well-being. The videos are proving popular with teachers and students alike as valuable and engaging educational resources.

Critters and Dippers

Caddisfly larvae that build their own armour … Pond skaters that can walk on water … and the beautiful Dipper, one of the world’s only aquatic songbirds. CLASSROOM RESOURCES: This is Part 1 of a 3-part series exploring biodiversity from the river to the sea. Supported by Cork County Council & Local Authority Waters Programme.

Scoil na Mara launched the series of videos during National Biodiversity Week, to celebrate Ireland’s biodiversity and highlight the value of good water quality. The videos were filmed in the Clonakilty Estuary Catchment by Séan Casey. The series was written and presented by Mairéad O’Donovan. The series was promoted locally with an art competition for the nine primary schools of the catchment. A tremendous number of super entries were received, making the judges job very difficult!

The Source to Sea Initiative is endorsed as an activity of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The Decade, coordinated by UNESCO, recognises contributions which, at a local level, increase awareness of the ocean and its influence on human life and contribute to better understanding and more sustainable management of the ocean. The decade runs from 2021 to 2030 and provides a common framework to ensure that ocean science can fully support countries’ actions to sustainably manage the Oceans and particularly to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Objectives.

The series is available to all schools on the Scoil na Mara YouTube Channel and links to additional resources are also provided beneath each.

Learn more:

The estuary comes to life!

Walk by the estuary and see how much life there is on the mudflats! Worms that leave sandy poo everywhere! … and birds that have flown thousands of kilometres for a winter eating holiday. CLASSROOM RESOURCES HERE: Supported by Cork County Council & Local Authority Waters Programme.

Jellyfish, Sea potatoes & Portuguese Man o’ War

Discover some of the weird and wonderful creatures that lie beneath the waves … and why clean water is not just important for animals but for us too! CLASSROOM RESOURCES HERE: Supported by Cork County Council & Local Authority Waters Programme.

Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our water bodies.

This website has been developed and is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Authority Waters Programme.


Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,842 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives for each.


Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures to protect and restore our waters.