SCIENCE PROMOTION FUN WITH BORD NA MÓNA

Midlands Science is delighted to announce a new partnership with Bord na Móna for this year’s annual Midlands Science Festival. Established in 1934 as the Turf Development Board, renamed Bord na Móna in 1946, the company has committed itself over 80 years ago to delivering sustainable industry to Ireland using indigenous resources. Bord na Móna is also committed to promoting awareness and education on biodiversity in schools and in communities and to protecting and preserving our heritage and environment for future generations to enjoy.

Jackie Gorman, Director of the Midlands Science Festival said,

‘The Midlands Science Festival is all about taking science out of the lab and into places like libraries, theatres and even outdoors in order to provide diverse ways for people of all ages to explore the world around them and to learn something new. We are delighted to be partnering with Bord na Móna for this year’s Midlands Science Festival and with their support and sponsorship, we will be providing some fun and interactive events for schools this November in various Offaly locations. In keeping with a key Science Week 2017 of ‘climate change’ we are particularly excited to be inviting two lucky schools to Bord Na Mona’s largest windfarm, Mountlucas Co. Offaly, where pupils will learn first-hand about wind turbine technology, the national significance of wind energy and the workings of a local windfarm. Thanks to the generosity of partners such as Bord na Mona, we are now heading into our fifth year and our 2017 festival promises to be bigger and better than ever before.’

Exciting and interactive workshops from providers at the ‘Rediscovery Centre’ and the team at ‘Go Fly Your Kite’ will be delivered to schools and these workshops are a way of engaging young children about the diversity of science and technology and how it is such a big part of everyday life. Bord Na Mona has a number of sites in the Midlands that welcome visits from the public and particularly young people to learn more about the advances being made in the areas of renewable energy technology, power generation and ecology to name but a few.

Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Bord na Móna, Mia McCarthy commented,

‘Bord na Móna’s strategy is focused on moving the company from being dependent on our traditional businesses. We have diversified to sustainable businesses including renewable energy. While providing employment is highly valuable, Bord na Móna provides more than just jobs. We have always perceived our role to be active and directly involved in the communities where we operate so we are delighted to be teaming up with the Midlands Science Festival this year to support events which help to promote the importance of science education to our local young people.’

Nothing Beats Practical Experience!

We are delighted to be partnering with Bord na Móna for this year’s Midlands Science Festival and with their support and sponsorship, we will be providing some fun and interactive events for Midlands schools this November. We caught up with Laura Ryan from the Powergen Development part of the company to find out more about Bord na Móna’s work with schools and in the community.

Laura, we are very proud to be partnering with Bord na Mona this year to promote science education across the Midlands. We know that the company has a strong commitment to local schools. Can you tell us about some of the work that you do to encourage young people to pursue a career in science or technology related areas?

Bord Na Mona has a number of sites in the Midlands that welcome visits from the public and particularly young people to learn more about the advances being made in the areas of renewable energy technology, power generation and ecology to name but a few.

I think that nothing beats first-hand experience. Guided tours are available year-round at Bord Na Mona’s largest windfarm, Mountlucas Co. Offaly, providing information on the history of the project which was completed in 2014 and the operation of the windfarm to date. Admission is free, open to the public and is proving particularly popular with schools where we have seen a real interest displayed by the students in the workings of the windfarm. The visitor’s centre has also recently installed an interactive Learning Hub which allows young people to learn more about the wind turbine technology and the national significance of wind energy.

Edenderry power station also provides tours for schools where skilled technicians are on-hand to provide a background on the power plant history and operation. The power station is the single biggest consumer of carbon neutral biomass in the country and the tour provides an invaluable learning experience for young people.

Ireland has to completely transform the way that we generate and consume energy for the future. 10% of the country’s renewable electricity needs are generated by Bord na Móna at its power stations and wind farms..Can you tell us about Mountlucas and the role it has to play?

Ireland has one of the best wind resources in Europe and this resource is essential in meeting our 2020 renewable energy target of 16%. Wind energy currently supplies 85% of all renewable electricity generation. The benefits of wind energy to Ireland are significant: major reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the power sector, better energy security for the island and supporting the local economy with job creation.

Mountlucas, one of the largest windfarms in Ireland at 84MW power output, consists of 28 wind turbines which provide enough renewable electricity to power 45,000 homes per year. 125,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide are offset annually due to the windfarm displacing electricity from gas- or coal-fired electricity plants. Developing more windfarms similar to Mountlucas is critical to the future of renewable electricity generation in Ireland.

One of the ways Bord na Mona as a company maintains a close connection to people is by opening up our land to the community. Bord na Móna’s ecology team have been working on local lands to help restore and rehabilitate former working bogs wherever possible. Can you tell us about some of the interests and activities available to people in the Midlands?

Bord Na Mona, through its Biodiversity Action Plan, has made a formal commitment to rehabilitating its cutaway peatlands. Lough Boora discovery park, located near Tullamore Co. Offaly, is an excellent example of a realisation of this work. The bog has been re-vegetated, in some areas rewetted and now boasts an impressive outdoor sculpture park, amenity pathway and fishing and cycling facilities to name but a few of the onsite amenities.

Mountlucas wind farm includes 7km of public amenity walkways and is also the current host of the Offaly park run which takes place every Saturday.

Providing public access to these sites allows us to inform the community on the rehabilitation and development efforts of the team in Bord Na Mona.

We know that we need to keep working to encourage the next generation to consider science more closely when looking at third level choices. What do you think we can do to make sure more student choose science?

I think that an emphasis should be made on the real-life practical applications of science and technology. Concepts that are taught in the classroom should be related to real-world examples. I always found examples useful in visualising a problem particularly when I was studying physics for my Leaving Cert. With science subjects I think that nothing beats practical experience.

Taking part in events like the Young Scientist should also be encouraged with an emphasis on participation and producing new ideas.

My background is energy engineering and as a student studying engineering I visited different power generation sites. These visits were some of the highlights of the my years in college and I think young people would really respond to more first-hand experience.

 

 

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