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‘I Like Beaches’ project to help tackle threat to Galway’s coast
Galway’s identity is intertwined with the coast but how many actually understand how the coast works? The coast provides the city with so much including dramatic and beautiful scenery, food and employment, a place to play and exercise, rare and valuable natural habitats but the coastal and marine environments are increasingly coming under threat.
To help tackle the threat and to promote awareness, students from NUI Galway’s Discipline of Geography teamed up with Galway City Council’s Recreation and Amenity Department and local residents and formed the ‘I Like Beaches’ project.
‘I Like Beaches’ aims to provide visitors and users of Galway City beaches access to scientific information about the coast, how it works, and what poses a threat to it. After a public workshop to discuss how best to promote the project, the team created new educational boards which provide information on beaches, dunes, waves and climate change. The first four signs were installed beside Grattan Beach recently and it is planned to install more signs near Ladies Beach and other Galway City beaches.
The ‘I Like Beaches’ project was developed through NUI Galway’s EXPLORE programme, which links staff with students to support innovative and creative ideas to benefit the local community. The team, in partnership with Galway City Council, included two staff members, Dr Eugene Farrell and Dr Kevin Lynch, and five final-year undergraduate students Shaun Byrne, Jennifer Corbett, Jennifer Logan, Aisling Miller, and Michael Murphy from the Discipline of Geography.
In NUI Galway the immediate impacts on the students who developed project management experience included: how to promote and market research activities; work alongside their lecturers; and work in different roles within a small team.
Dr Eugene Farrell, Lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway, said: “With the privilege to pursue knowledge in NUI Galway comes a civic responsibility to share or use this knowledge in the community and we hope that public education and outreach projects such as ‘I Like Beaches’ are a positive step in this direction. We are especially grateful that Eamon Daveron and Eithne Murphy from Galway City Council’s Recreation and Amenity Department have been involved in every step of the project and hope that programmes like EXPLORE continue to be supported by NUI Galway.”
Dr Kevin Lynch, Lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway, said: “Our coasts are valuable yet fragile places. It is our responsibility to make informed decisions when it comes to managing them. Short-term gains like the seawall proposed by President Trump for Doonbeg in Co. Clare should not be valued greater than looking after our coasts over the longer-term.”
The ‘I Like Beaches’ team and Galway City Council are also looking for feedback from the public. To leave feedback visit the ‘I Like Beaches’ Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ILikeBeachesGalway/.