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Fota Wildlife Park’s Head of Education receives a prestigious award from University College Cork

Fota Wildlife Park is pleased to announce that Lynda Mc Sweeney Walsh, Head of Education has been awarded an honorary Masters by University College Cork on Thursday.

At a recent meeting of the awards committee at the University, Lynda was selected as a recipient of this honour in association with her contribution to the areas of ecological, zoological and environmental education on a national scale. Speaking about the award Director of Fota Wildlife Park Sean McKeown added, "We are delighted that UCC has acknowledged the excellent work that our education team here at the park do especially Lynda who is responsible for the success we have had in this area".

Lynda is a UCC Zoology graduate, has directed the Fota Wildlife programme for almost 17 years where between 12,000 and 14,000 students attend formal education programmes in ecology, wildlife and environmental science. The park cater for a variety of ecological based courses that offer both junior and leaving certificate students an opportunity to participate in practical field ecology.

Mr McKeown has also seen the education programme at the park increase he added "as a result of the popularity of our education modules, we have invested in establishing a dedicated education complex which can cater to the needs of in excess of 300 students on a daily basis". This complex was officially opened by President of Ireland Mary MacAleese in April as part of the €4 million new entrance complex development at the park.

In recent years, the education department at Fota has also developed links with additional animal based charities such as the Donkey Sanctuary, ISPCA , and the Dogs Trust in helping to promote animal welfare and conservation throughout Ireland. In 2008, the Education Department at Fota Wildlife Park received the prestigious Sandford Award., and is the only zoological institution to attain it in the Republic of Ireland - a testament to Lynda's leadership and skills.