Pembrokeshire charity The Darwin Centre and Waterston (Milford Haven) based Dragon LNG and Dragon Energy have extended their long-term partnership aimed at fostering STEM education initiatives.

This collaboration, which began in 2005, has demonstrated remarkable success in empowering young minds, promoting innovation, and enhancing educational opportunities in Pembrokeshire.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education lies at the heart of innovation and progress. Recognising this, Darwin and Dragon joined forces to implement impactful programmes that inspire and equip the next generation of scientists, engineers, and innovators. 

Through this extended partnership, Darwin and Dragon have reaffirmed their commitment to provide resources, expertise, and support to initiatives that promote STEM education and skills development. Together, they will continue to engage with schools, educators, and students to offer free: enriching experiences, hands-on learning opportunities, field trips and workshops.

Over the past 18 years, this partnership has yielded tangible results, including:

• A three-year case study with the Milford cluster of schools, demonstrating that regular STEM inventions can raise aspirations and attainment levels in STEM subjects.

• The establishment of a Milford Science Squad to ensure that keen young scientists have access to sessions designed to challenge them and aid transition to secondary school

• Delivery of almost 2,500 events with more than 75,000 participants

• Multi Wales and UK awards – Prestige Wales Award, Wales Responsible Business Award, Wales STEM Award, UK STEM Inspiration Award, UK BITC Responsible Business Award, Welsh Business Award, Sustain Wales Award and the Inspire Wales Award.

The longevity of the project provides stability to the Darwin Centre as a charity, and schools within the county know they can count on the Darwin Dragon Experience to provide high quality free outdoor learning experiences and classroom-based workshops each academic year, which is evidenced by ongoing positive feedback from teachers, pupils and participants.  

Sageston CP School on a field trip with the Darwin Centre to Stackpole Estate
Sageston CP School on a field trip with the Darwin Centre to Stackpole Estate (Pic supplied)

Mr. Davies, at Sageston CP School said of the Dragon Darwin Experience: “We value greatly, as a school, the ongoing collaboration we have with the Darwin Centre. It is wonderful to have worked with them on a variety of projects to reinforce expand the pupils’ skills and ideas using a variety of current and real-life learning experiences. The Darwin Centre encourages the children to apply their learning to meaningful contexts.  Sam and Amy actively encourage the pupils to develop their STEM knowledge and understanding in a variety of interesting and practical ways, utilising the natural resources and landscapes of Pembrokeshire.”

A Sageston pupil also shared their thoughts on the Dragon LNG Darwin Experience: “I really enjoyed our beach clean at Freshwater West. I enjoyed finding out about micro-plastics and learning what I could do to help keep our beaches clean and safe for others to use.”

“I really enjoy taking my learning outside and visiting lots of different places in our local area. Working with the Darwin Centre is fun, and I have learned lots of new things in places I have never visited before.”

Pembrokeshire Senedd Member Paul Davies said: “I am very pleased that the new five-year Dragon Darwin agreement commenced in January and having seen for myself the fantastic work the project has done over many years, it’s great that Dragon LNG have continued with its vital financial support. Given that the project has engaged with over 70,000 Pembrokeshire learners it just shows the true scale of what has been achieved.”

Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb added: “The Darwin Project has had a significant impact on children across Pembrokeshire, inspiring them through STEM education initiatives. I have seen the positive benefits of the practical skills that the scheme promotes, its ability to capture the imagination of young minds, and the way that it is helping children aspire to be the scientists, engineers, and innovators of tomorrow.  I applaud DRAGON LNG for the support which they have provided, enabling young people to explore STEM subjects in such an accessible and creative way, and I am delighted to know that this support will continue for many years to come.”

Karen Wood, External Relations and Social Performance Manager said: “Looking ahead, we are excited about the possibilities that this extended partnership holds, including Renewable Workshops at Dragon, taking advantage of field trips to our Renewables Park.  We remain dedicated to driving positive change and making a lasting impact on the lives of individuals and communities through our collective efforts in STEM education.”

Tenby VC School pupils push netting on Dale beach
Tenby VC School pupils push netting on Dale beach (Pic supplied)

Samantha Williams, Manager of the Darwin Centre: "We are delighted to extend our partnership with Dragon.  Together, we have made significant strides in promoting STEM education and empowering young minds. By continuing to work hand in hand, we are confident that we can inspire even more individuals to pursue their passions and contribute to a brighter future.”

Karen concluded: “At Dragon LNG and Dragon Energy, we recognise the importance of investing in STEM education as a driver of innovation and progress. We are proud to extend our partnership with Darwin and remain committed to empowering the next generation of STEM leaders. Together, we will continue to make a meaningful difference in the communities where we operate.”