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LEADER Catalysing Biodiversity 

Catalysing Biodiversity is part of our ongoing Seeding Sustainability programme at Coláiste na Sceilge, with Mr. Francis Courtney to create a 1KM Health and Well-being trail on the school grounds. The Catalysing Biodiversity programme was further supported by additional funding from our SFI-funded Muinín Catalyst Sustainable STEAM programme and our Clár Innovation programme and the Irish Research Council, enabling the learners to work with our colleagues from UCD and the Environmental Planning and policy department, School of Architecture and Engineering. 

Seeding Sustainability is a project-based learning module that uses the local place to enable learners to gain knowledge and skills around local ecology, environmental factors and issues, and project management and execution.  The overarching project includes lessons plans,  related modules support, and encourages linked-learning.  A forward planning guide enables teachers across subject areas to collaborate and plan in order to develop learners’ understanding and skills to complete the module.

The Catalysing Biodiversity project worked with Transition year students from Jan 2022, using our project-based learning thematic and place-based STEAM pedagogical approaches and resources. Integrating local place enables learners to gain knowledge and skills around contemporary global issues through local engagement and 21st Century Skills. The 1KM Health and Well-being trail used the Seeding Sustainability module themes, which are broken down into micro-modules and lesson plans work toward the completed project. This year, 93 students completed the design programme, related modules and a 3 and 5-day design sprint, Climate Change Engage that included developing an awareness of Climate adaptation and game design skills to raise awareness with 15 - 17 year olds. The programme sought to:


  1. Address a gap in knowledge around eco-anxiety and environmental issues through positive action

  2. Raise awareness of the issues around biodiversity

  3. Develop students’ skills and competencies in the areas of place-based STEAM, biodiversity and environmental action, as well as sustainable development / tourism.


The training programme uses a Catalyst Approach and includes the following;


  1. Full Design-Thinking training - research and design-specific to the location and the aims of the project

  2. Project Management skills including planning and delivery

  3. Inclusive design

  4. Pitch / presentation skills

  5. Construction and Landscape design

The project used a selection from the following learning resources to deliver 145 hrs of focused content / over 16 weeks to two classes and a self-selecting cohort with some adhoc classes in addition (total 93 students) as follows: 




























Climate Change Engage - 5-day design Sprint 


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Problem to Pitch is an 12-week (12 hrs of lesson plans and worksheets) Design Thinking module

Examining Edible Medicinal Plants is an 8-week (8 hrs of lesson plans and worksheets) local foraging module

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Food Sovereignty and Growing and Foraging combines 23-weeks (23 hrs of lesson plans and worksheets) food sustainability module 

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