Cillian Ó Fathaigh will be leading a social media project which could become a key part of the environmental education syllabus of schoolchildren living in a protected area of Ireland.
A Gates Cambridge Scholar will be leading a social media project which could become a key part of the environmental education syllabus of schoolchildren living in a protected area of Ireland.
Cillian Ó Fathaigh  has been selected by a conservation charity in Ireland, the Burrenbeo Trust, as the only Irish representative at the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Parks Congress in Sydney as a Global Youth Ambassador.
He has also been asked to develop a social media project for the Trust called #BurrenInsideOUT. This involves taking primary school children from the Burren area in Country Clare and challenging them to tweet a picture of their area. The Burren is a tiny, protected and environmentally unique area in Ireland. The Burren National Park is one of six National Parks in Ireland and home to three quarters of Ireland’s species of flowers. Cillian says: “This will allow students from across the region to connect with each other and helps to activise and engage them with the Burren.”
The project is in its early stages,but it is hoped that it will become a key part of the syllabus for the children’s environmental education over the next few years. Cillian adds: “It is of particular importance as demographics are changing in the Burren, from a community primarily employed in agriculture to one in other industries. This means that in a short number of years the relationship that the community shares with the area will change drastically and this project aims to use modern social media to look for alternative ways to question and develop this relationship.”
Cillian, who is doing an MPhil in European Literature and Culture, grew up in the Burren and says “its careful balance of beauty and isolation mandated an interest in books”. Outside of his studies, he is particularly interesting in education and is a former education columnist for The Irish Times.