Drumlin Co-op delivers practical education for an uncertain future

A locally based wind energy co-operative is delivering practical education to young people living in the vicinity of its turbines.

Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 9:58 am

Drumlin is a Northern Ireland based wind energy co-op, whose 900 members own and run six small wind turbines dispersed across the region in four counties, one of them at Connor, just outside Ballymena.

It was set up in 2012, understood to be the first Community Energy Co-op in Northern Ireland.

“When it began, Drumlin knew it was important to inform people of the role of renewable energy in tackling the problems of climate change and also about the need to value and protect the natural environment.” said Anne Ford, Chair of the Co-op.

Rodney and Karen Arbuckle, on whose farm at Connor the Drumlin turbine is sited in County Antrim.

Through its Community Fund, Drumlin, has supported an education programme for Key Stage 2 children in Primary Schools local to its six turbines. To date, links have been established with 26 schools and the BREESI programme (Bringing Renewable EnErgy to Schools Initiative) has been

delivered to over 600 children by a small team of experienced teachers. This engaging programme has been enthusiastically received by all the schools. The design and practical construction of a model wind turbine has always been the highlight of the classroom

sessions.

Colin Press, the BREESI co-ordinator added: “The Drumlin team is really pleased by the uptake and success of the programme so far. Now we’ve renewed the BREESI resources and prepared an updated and expanded teachers’ guide (launched to coincide with COP26 in Glasgow). Through making this guide available online and as an easily accessible booklet, we hope to double the reach of the programme. This means that awareness of the value of renewables in reducing carbon emissions, and a knowledge of the underlying technology, can be shared with many more children. We can also provide support for teachers, if required, in the use of the provided practical resources.”

Rodney and Karen Arbuckle, on whose farm at Connor the Drumlin turbine is sited

“At this critical time education at all levels must be a priority.” said Mrs Ford. “There has already been recognition that new skills will be needed in the workforce to embrace the move to green technologies. Surely now is the time to review the school curriculum to include relevant content, which is currently sadly lacking at Primary School level”.

“Drumlin Co-op is seeking to play its part. Our BREESI team educates children on the issues, and encourages problem solving and practical skills which will help youngsters to deal with the challenges and huge uncertainties that lie ahead.”