Ahead of the Galway Sea Festival taking place on the June Bank Holiday weekend, the Marine Institute, GMIT, NUIG, Irish Wildlife Trust, and Galway Atlantaquaria are combining efforts to offer families a chance to explore one of Galway city’s most important and exciting habitats - the beach. Explore the Shore Beach Safari will commence at 11.30am at Grattan Beach, Salthill on Sunday May 26 and everybody is welcome to come along and explore the shore.
Experts including Dr Nóirín Burke, education and outreach officer in Galway Atlantaquaria, will be on hand to offer guidance and to help identify the plants and animals. Dr Burke explains that many people have limited knowledge of the wildlife on the sea shore. “The shore can sometimes appear to be devoid of wildlife but when you start to look closely there is a wonderful amount of activity going on, in the sand, under the rocks and in the rock pools. Here (at Grattan Beach ), animals and plants fight a daily struggle against the tides, finding their food and avoiding predators. During our safari we will explore this habitat and its challenges for life before returning the creatures to their home again.”
Researchers from the Marine and Freshwater Research Centre at GMIT will also be exploring the beach to discover the different types of litter - a rapidly growing problem for Ireland’s sea shores.
Among the band of experts will be Amy Lusher, GMIT.
Ms Lusher carried out a PhD on marine microplastics and their accumulation of pollutants is investigating the fate of microplastics (plastics of microscopic size ) in marine habitats and their food webs. During the beach safari she will carry out sand sieving on the shore to identify the level of microplastics present at Grattan Beach.
The Explore the Shore Beach Safari is a free event and begins at the lifeguards’ hut at Grattan Beach, Salthill at 11.30am on Sunday May 26 and all participants need is a bucket and a net.
The safari will be followed by a family funday in Galway Atlantaquaria on Sunday June 2. Organised by Galway Atlantaquaria and partners, the family fun day celebrates World Oceans Day and aims to inspire people about marine life in a fun and friendly way.
There will be activities for all ages running throughout the day from 11am to 5pm, with the aquarium displays and exhibits as the backdrop. Discount admission prices will be available on the day. The programme of events will include a weather science show from Science Ireland, the enchanted reef in the exploration dome, cartoon drawing workshops with Captain Black John and diving demonstrations and fish feedings. For younger children, there will be storytelling and face painting while older children will be able to carry out science experiments and a range of arts and crafts activities.
The Ryan Institute, NUIG, The Marine and Freswater centre, GMIT, Inland Fisheries Ireland, The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, the Marine Institute, and the Irish Wildlife Trust will all have exhibition stands. Artist and sculpture Blessing Sanyanga will also be launching his "Blueprint Exhibition" on the day and running some sculpting workshops for children and adults, offering an opportunity to pick up tips from an expert.
Speaking about the Family Fun Day, Liam Twomey, Director Galway Atlantaquaria said,"Here in Galway we have a tremendous link to the sea and it's fabulous to see it celebrated as part of World Oceans Day and the Galway Sea Festival. We hope that people will come along and enjoy all the activities, shows and exhibits that will be on, on the day."
Full details of all festival events on www.galway seafestival.com