We’re shooting for the stars with our Space Badge!

We are thrilled to be launching an exciting Space programme, thanks to the hard work and determination of our former Ambassador, Dr Niamh Shaw!

The Space Badge is sure to appeal to IGG members of all ages. The space-themed activities that girls from age 5+ will undertake include rocket-building, stargazing, solar system walks and looking for the International Space Station in the night sky. Guides will also learn about Irish women working in the Space sector and will be challenged to make a model moon base out of recycled materials.

The badge was launched with an extravaganza event, including rockets and explosions, live on our You Tube channel on International Day of the Girl (11 October). We were delighted that Dr Shaw, who is an award-winning space communicator, could join us and astrophysicist and European Space Agency scientist Dr Kate Isaak. Both Dr Shaw and Dr Isaak are former Girl Guides!

Dr Shaw, who was IGG’s Ambassador 2019-2020, said that, on accepting the role, she had been keen to add a Space badge to IGG’s already wide-ranging programme of activities and challenges for girls and young women. “Being the Irish Girl Guides Ambassador was such a privilege,” she said. “I got the opportunity to meet with youth members and volunteers and find out about them as well as to chat about Space, dreaming big and all the technology and science required to explore and protect our planet Earth.

“I set myself a goal to establish a Space Badge packed with space-themed activities about our planet and our place in Space. Working with Frances McCarthy at CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory (who is also an IGG Leader) and adapting the science, technology engineering & maths (STEM) activities included in the ESERO Ireland archive, we achieved just that!

“It’s a fantastic end to a terrific year with Irish Girl Guides,” she continued, “And I’m so proud that, through this collaboration of women involved in Space, we made it happen. That’s what Space Week and International Day of the Girl is all about too!”

IGG Chief Commissioner Amanda O’Sullivan, said IGG was thrilled to partner with ESERO Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland and Blackrock Castle Observatory in order to create the exciting new programme. “The Space Badge, which will be awarded to all girls who complete age-appropriate STEM activities on a Space theme, will complement other badges we have introduced in recent years to encourage girls to explore areas they might not otherwise have considered, including Engineering, Aviation and STEM.”

Frances McCarthy, Education and Outreach Officer at CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory and an IGG volunteer Leader in Cork, played a key role in compiling the Space programme with Dr Shaw. She said, “The aim of the Space Badge is to understand our place in space and, while earning the badges, the girls will use many STEM resources and also develop their scientific skills, such as problem solving, team-work and creativity, while having fun and engaging in Space and Astronomy. We hope that, by doing these activities, girls will not only be enthused about Space but might consider a career in STEM.”

Stephanie O’Neill, Manager of ESERO Ireland, said: “ESERO Ireland is delighted to support the Irish Girl Guides’ Space Badge through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Discover Funding Programme.  SFI and ESERO promote science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and projects like this help girls to develop scientific skills, like problem-solving, teamwork and creativity, using a range of fun space-themed activities, which have been devised for Ladybirds, Brownies and Guides.”

Leaders can find the details of the badge on Online Guide Manager (OGM).