Maynooth Forest School Project 2019

We have been having a wonderful time down in the woods of Maynooth University for the last 8 weeks, working with 3rd class from Gaelscoil Ui Fhiaich running a 10 week Forest School Programme. We have been building dens, putting up homemade swings, doing natural arts and crafts including nature journals, dream catchers, clay Easter eggs, climbing trees, making rafts, working with tools, singing songs, and spending a lot of quality time in nature getting to know, respect and love the local woodland.

We have been kindly supported by Kildare County Council through the Environment Deparment and Heritage Departments, with thanks to Dara Weir and Bridget Loughlin for their ongoing support.

And we are also supported by the Heritage Council’s Education Programme, the Heritage in Schools Programme, which supports experts countrywide to go out and work with children outdoors, find out more about what the scheme offers here:

BIODIVERSITY Week EVent 2019- Creating Habitats for Pollinators

I am leading this workshop, along with a local bee expert Jim Wyse, and butterfly expert Pat Bell, for Biodiversity Week next Wednesday night at the John Sullivan Resource Centre, Clane, from 7-9pm. Will be mainly outdoors and interactive! Please spread the word, and come on down if you are interested!

Creating native habitats and planting plans for pollinators in any space from small to large in your garden or in your community. This event will bring together a host of local experts on biodiversity, habitats and pollinators, for a practical evening on how to develop your garden or community space into a pollinator and wildlife haven by introducing a variety of native habitats.

Find out more about the event on facebook here..

With thanks to Kildare County Heritage Office for supporting our work at the John Sullivan Resource Centre. Find out more about what our heritage officer does here.And on Facebook here

Directions to the John Sullivan Resource Centre here:

Kildare Community Stories visits our Biodiversity garden in JSC Clane

Kildare Community Stories is a Facebook group run by Kildare County Council. They go out and visit community groups around Kildare to get a taste of what is going on for the citizens of the county. A few weeks ago they visited us at the John Sullivan Resource Centre in Clane where I work, on a Wednesday I teach a QQI Level 4 in organic horticulture with the focus on food growing, and on Thursday I work with the members on a weekly basis teaching horticulture, working no our biodiversity garden, and most importantly having the chats and socialising with the members, which is as important as everything else that goes on at the JSC. We did a pond dip and took them on a tour of our biodiversity garden, we were in luck that day, there were lots of creatures to be found in the pond, and we also managed to catch a buff-tailed bumblebee so we get a close look at it before setting it free again to forage on the early wildflowers that are up in our wildflower meadow, the dandelion, the cowslips and also the early flowers of germander speedwell and common vetch, they were also very interested in the catkins on our willow coppice! Check out the posts they put up on their Facebook page here:

Some photos they took on the day:

Castletown House Forest School

We are delighted to launch the next 6 weeks of our Forest School After School Programme at Castletown House, Celbridge, Co. Kildare, starting Tuesday 7th May 2019. Booking details below!

We will be offering weekly sessions of time in nature, play, woodland crafts, den building, rope work, nature crafts, mud area, all to facilitate getting kids back to nature, in all weathers.

Part 2 of the After Schools Programme is being run as a 6-week programme, one afternoon a week on Tuesdays for 6-12 year olds, starting on Tuesday 7th May 2019 from 3.30pm-5.30pm

Dates: Tuesday 7th May, Tuesday 14th May, Tuesday 21st May, Tuesday 28th May, Tuesday 4th June, Tuesday 11th June

Time: 3.30 to 5.30 pm

Age: 6 to 12 year olds

Bookings HERE

With many thanks for the support from Castletown House, who have kindly allowed us to use their woodland. Check out more about Castletown House here:

Pilot Forest School Programme at Castletown House – first phase nearly completed!

We have nearly completed our pilot 6 week Forest School After School Programme at Castletown House. We have been having a ball in the beautiful woods just beside the big house itself. We have been making woodland crafts, building dens, making swings, climbing trees and learning how to use various tools

If you would like your child to book into the next Forest School Programme, follow the link here

6th Annual School garden Conference – this weekend!

This weekend I am delivering 2 workshops on biodiversity in the school garden at SEED’s sixth annual School Garden Conference will be held in St. Laurence’s National School, Sallins, Co. Kildare, from 9.30am until 4.00pm on Saturday 23rd March. To find out more information or to book a place on it, please go to:

Launching our new Forest School After Schools Programme

We are delighted to be launching, in collaboration with Castletown House and Earthforce Education, a pilot FOREST SCHOOL – AFTER SCHOOLS PROGRAMME in Castletown House, Celbridge, spring 2019. Dates: 6-week pilot programme, starting on Tuesday 5th March 2018 – Tuesday 10th April 2019.

Day & Time: Tuesdays 3.30-5.30pm

Age Range: 6-12 years old

Location: Woodland area, beside the main house, situated between car park and Castletown House, on the right on the way into the house

Cost: €120 for 6 sessions. This can only be booked for the 6 weeks in total, not as individual sessions.

What is Forest School?

Forest School is based around allowing children spend quality, recurring time in nature, which allows for the holistic learning and development of the child. Forest School is child-led and designed to develop the children’s relationship to themselves, each other, learning and nature in a safe way. Each child will engage with this in their own way and our aim is to support that as forest school leaders.

If you’re interested in your child participating in our After Schools Programme:


With many thanks for the support from Castletown House, who have kindly allowed us to use their woodland. Check out more about Castletown House here: 

Introduction to Forest School – Primary teachers CPD

If you are a primary school teacher and are interested in finding out more about Forest School, myself and my colleague Ciara Hinksman from Earthforce Education are running a 2 hour CPD – Introduction to Forest School, in both the Kildare Education Centre, Kildare town and Gaelscoil Uí Fhiaich in Maynooth on the 4th and 11th February respectively.

More information here for the course being run out of the Kildare Education Centre, Kildare town and here for the course being run out of Gaelscoil Uí Fhiaich, Maynooth, Co. Kildare.

If you would like more information on this course, please contact me here:

Together for Biodiversity Awards

Amazing news for the new year, the Biodiversity Garden that I am involved with at the John Sullivan Resource Centre in Clane has been shortlisted for the ‘People Together for Biodiversity’ Awards, please vote for the project here and share this around to as many people and pages that you can as it’s by public vote!!! Vote for project A! Thanks!

Art from the Garden – Culture Night, Town Hall Naas

Art from the Garden is a culmination of a Citizen Science and Art Project, co-ordinated by my good self, that has been taking place at the John Sullivan Resource Centre, in Clane since May 2018. The members have been taking part in Citizen Science recording sessions in our Biodiversity garden, the computer class have been recording the species with the Irish Biodiversity Data centre and the Art class have been drawing what we have found in the garden!

Citizen Science and Art Project

The John Sullivan Resource Centre, Irish Wheelchair Association Clane’s Citizen Science and Art Project was run from April 2018 up until September 2018, involving ALL members of the IWA Clane in the project. Members were involved in spending time in the biodiversity garden and recording the various species we found there especially wildflowers, bumblebees and butterflies. The art class drew sketches of the wildflowers in the meadow and did studies of them in clay relief imprints, low relief handmade porcelain and created paintings of the insects and birds that were observed there. The computer class helped with some of the recording of sightings to the Irish Biodiversity Data Centre.

The project has brought all the members together, including spending lots of quality time outdoors in the beautiful meadow and orchard of our biodiversity garden. We were blessed with the hottest summer on record and saw an incredible number of insects, bumblebees, butterflies, dragonflies, grasshoppers and numerous insects we had never seen before. It has been a very rewarding project to be involved with and this exhibition is the fruition of that project.

Many thanks to Creative Ireland for funding this project, and Lucina Russell of KCC Arts Service and Bridget Loughlin, the Kildare County Heritage Officer  for their continued support of our work at the JSC IWA Clane.