Sandford Award - Fota Wildlife Park

Sandford Award

Sandford Award

In November 2023, Fota Wildlife Park was awarded the fourth consecutive Sandford Award for Heritage Education and is one of only three institutions in Ireland who have been awarded the accolade.

Fota Wildlife Park first won the quinquennial award in 2008. The Sandford Award is a trusted certification mark for high-quality education provision which is acknowledged by schools and other educational institutions in Ireland and the UK.

Christine Chadwick, lead assessor for the Sandford Award said: “Fota Wildlife Park’s education service is distinguished by its expert staff and its extensive collection of exotic and indigenous fauna and flora. As well as delivering essential knowledge and skills, the learning experience at Fota Wildlife Park extends far beyond the curriculum. The staff’s passion for conservation and the plight of Ireland’s and the world’s endangered species is present throughout, with the aim of inspiring pupils and visitors to take action to help protect the environment. The service is very well managed, and the new Education, Conservation and Research Centre has the potential to deliver further improvements to facilities and resources.”

Lynda McSweeney, Head of Education at Fota Wildlife Park said on the news of receiving the award “We are extremely proud to be chosen as a recipient of the Sandford Award for the last fifteen years.  Fota’s education programme has gone from strength to strength in relation to the variety of formal educational modules on offer as well the continual growth in our attendance figures.  Being recognised as a centre of excellence for heritage education in both Ireland and the UK is a welcome accolade and one that we will strive to maintain over the coming years.

We are delighted to be recognised for our education programmes that engage, inform, and inspire visitors and contribute to an understanding of the local and national heritage. The next step, as part of our ten-year strategic plan and to build on the variety of modules and the continuous demand on the educational offering is the opening of the new state of the art Education, Conservation, and Research Centre at Fota soon. “

The Sandford Award is an independently judged, quality assured assessment of education programmes at heritage sites, museums, archives and collections across the UK and Ireland. Over 500 sites – including historic houses, museums, galleries, places of worship, gardens, landscapes, and collections – have received an Award since the scheme began in 1978.

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