TY Summer Programme 2021 at IWA Clane

This summer we ran a follow up programme to our hugely successful TY programme funded by Kildare LEADER partnership at the Rathcoffey ZWCG in the Biodiversity gardens at the IWA Clane (https://iwaclanebiodiversitygarden.wordpress.com/). The project was kindly funded by the John Sullivan Resource Centre and by our heritage officer Bridget Loughlin of the County Kildare Heritage …

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LEADER Education Programme at ZWCG Rathcoffey March 2021

We have just managed to start our Transition year Programme as part of our Kildare LEADER funded programme at Zero Waste Community Garden Rathcoffey. We are running a 10-week gardening – Biodiversity - Living heritage and Zero Waste programme with a group of 14 TY’s from scoil Mhuire in Clane.

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Nationwide feature – tree planting for Zero Waste Community Garden Rathcoffey January 2021

Our tree planting day in Zero Waste Community Garden Rathcoffey featured on this week’s Nationwide.

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Tree Planting Day at Rathcoffey ZWCG

On a brisk, fresh, and sunny day at the start of December, the community came together to plant 250 trees at the Rathcoffey Zero Waste Community Garden.

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CASTLETOWN HOUSE FOREST SCHOOL – Autumn Sessions 2020

We have just managed to complete a 6-week Forest School term with our ongoing After School Group that we run out of Castletown House, in one of the areas of woodland near the big house, called the Pinetum.

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The Learning Series at Rathcoffey Zero Waste Community Garden September 2020

I have just started teaching a series of seasonal sessions at the Rathcoffey Zero Waste Community garden for an adult group, made up of a mixture of gardeners involved in the garden itself and members of the wider community.

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FOREST SCHOOL TRAINING AUGUST 2020 – IRISH LED WEEKEND!

We had an amazing weekend with the current cohort of trainees and despite pandemic madness and Kildare lockdowns, we managed to run a very safe and nourishing weekend in the woods!

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IRISH FOREST SCHOOL ASSOCIATION – ZOOM GATHERING June 2020

Finding new ways in a pandemic! We are adjusting to the use of the word zoom in our vocabulary very quickly in these days of the pandemic! Here we are attempting our very first what we are calling our Virtual Campfire Zoom hangout!

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Biodiversity Garden, IWA Clane June 2020

As part of our Citizen Science Project this year, we have been installing additional habitats in the garden here at the IWA Clane.

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An Introduction to Forest School Ethos & Principles, Limerick October 2019

We’re so excited to be coming to Limerick to offer a deep-dive Introduction to Forest School for Teachers in the Early Years & Primary and Secondary School. Places limited and going fast. Come and learn what Forest School is and gain some skills and confidence to bring children outdoors.

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Heritage Week workshops at IWA Clane August 2019

Had a simply glorious afternoon with 28 epic kids and their parents and the members and staff of the Irish Wheelchair Association in Clane for Heritage week 2019. We had an afternoon of bug hunting, pond dips, clay creature making and some very muddy wildflower seed bombs!! And some of our creature finds of the …

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Another Love Story festival- Décor Festival Art August 2019

This was my 5th year working as part of the décor team at the wonderful and magic little festival called Another Love Story. I have been working on the décor crew since this festival started and it has grown a little bit bigger but most definitely better as the years have progressed. We have an amazing set up now!

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FOREST SCHOOL SUMMER CAMP AUGUST 2019

We had a wonderful 2 weeks running our very first forest-school themed summer camps at Castletown House this summer!

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Teacher Training at Navan Education Centre July 2019

Another inspiring week working with 25 teachers in the Navan Education Centre, empowering them to have the confidence to take their children outside and also to leave wild areas, plant trees and grow food! The garlic flatbread, wild garden pesto and elderflower cordial was pretty yummy too! Couldn’t have done it without the epic Niamh …

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Teacher Training Summer Course with Kildare Education Centre July 2019

Teacher Summer Training Course “Outdoor Learning Made Easy-An Introduction to Forest School '' with the incredible Ciara Hinksman and twenty awesome primary school teachers.

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Body & Soul Festival Décor for healing area June 2019

This was my 10th year working at Body and Soul Festival. As always, we collaborated with the amazing Earth Spirit crew from Cork, and we set up and created the Healing Area in The Sanctuary at Body & Soul.

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CRUINNIÚ NA NÓG – CREATIVITY IN THE WILD JUNE 2019

Cruinniu na nÓg, a day to celebrate and encourage participation by children and young people in culture and creativity in their community. The Forest school workshops took place at Castletown House, in the woodlands right beside the house.

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Biodiversity Week Write up in Leinster Leader May 2019

Lovely article in the Leinster Leader about our event for Biodiversity Week event at the IWA Clane last week! Check out our blog to see what we are getting up to! 

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IFSA Annual GATHERING MAY 2019

Spent the weekend in Fota Wildlife Park hidden in under the bushes, which in Fota are kinda large, worked with a group talking about various aspects of woodland management, focusing on plant ID, learning to identify the basic leaf shapes, growth types and plant uses, and an introduction to growing trees from seed.

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MAYNOOTH FOREST SCHOOL PROJECT MAY 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, …

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BIODIVERSITY WEEK EVENT MAY 2019

We held a successful workshop for Biodiversity Week at the John Sullivan Resource Centre, Clane, on how to develop your garden or community space into a pollinator and wildlife haven by introducing a variety of native habitats.

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KILDARE COMMUNITY STORIES VISITS OUR BIODIVERSITY GARDEN May 2019

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.

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School Garden set up in Scoil Mhuire, Newbridge May 2019

I helped 2nd class in Scoil Mhuire, create an interesting kind of garden, chilled space in a contained courtyard space in the school, creating a green haven right in the middle of the school, we put in some living willow and beds, and are looking forward to seeing it grow!

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FOREST SCHOOL TEACHER SUMMER TRAINING COURSE APRIL 2019

We are very excited to be running the very forest summer teacher training course in Forest School through the auspices of the Kildare Education Centre. We applied and got permission to run this Teacher Summer Training course through the Kildare Education Centre.

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PILOT FOREST SCHOOL PROGRAMME AT CASTLETOWN HOUSE April 2019

We have just completed a successful 6-week Forest School After School Programme in the woods of Castletown. This was our Pilot Programme to test the waters and see if there would be interest and to see how the children enjoyed the programme.

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6TH ANNUAL SCHOOL GARDEN CONFERENCE – March 2019

This weekend I delivered 2 workshops on biodiversity in the school garden as part of SEED's sixth Annual School Garden Conference, which was held in St. Laurence's National School, Sallins, Co. Kildare, on Saturday 23rd March 2019.

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9-day Forest School Leader training March 2019

Lots of fun and learning during part two of our 9-day Forest School Leader training in Co. Wicklow with Circle of Life Training. These trainees are learning to become Forest School Leaders of the future. Excited to see what they end up doing in the future!

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First-ever National Biodiversity Conference February 2019

We didn't win, but it was great to be there, having the chats about our project and attending some interesting sessions about the issues at hand!!

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Level 1 Forest School Training in Wicklow February 2019

Myself and Ciara from Forest School Ireland spent a gorgeous weekend with an incredible bunch of ladies playing in the woods, introducing them to the wonders of forest school, there was some wild cooking, shelter building, playing with ropes and creating some first school crafts!

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TOGETHER FOR BIODIVERSITY AWARDS February 2019

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, and has been awarded runner up in the Awards, after the completion of the first ever Biodiversity Conference held in Ireland in February …

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INTRODUCTION TO FOREST SCHOOL – PRIMARY TEACHERS CPD

Are you interested in learning the skills to be able to take your class outside and into a woodland setting more often? Would you like children to be able to spend more time outdoors, in nature, which has huge benefits for their health & well-being as well as their personal, cognitive, and creative development?

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Level 1 Introduction to Forest School Ethos & Principles October 2018

Ciara and I ran our first-ever level 1 Forest School Training up in Rossmore Park, Co. Monaghan. We worked with a mixed bunch of adults, mainly from preschool backgrounds.

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ART FROM THE GARDEN – CULTURE NIGHT, TOWN HALL NAAS September 2018

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.

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Citizen Science and Art Project 2018

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.

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Electric Picnic September 2018

With my incredible decor crew this year, we created another smorgasbpard of deliciousness with our living willow and tissues.

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Another Love Story August 2018

Another wonderful week in the fields of Killyon Manor in Co. Meath. Our main creations this year were these giant lanterns which will replace the old ones that adorn the lighting that fame the lawn area and take you out into the field!

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Body & Soul festival June 2018

This year we were in a new location for the sanctuary Ara, so we created a wonderful willow archway entrance into the space, a willow dome, willow mushroom lanterns, a willow seating area, and an installation in the giant tree of the stages of development of a butterfly!

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Creativity in the Wild – Cruinniu Na Nog June 2018

We ran a lovely day in the woods, working with groups over the course of the day, allowing the children to decide what they wanted to get involved with, allowing lots of free play and creativity. We had a carousel of activities on offer to the participants, and lots of freedom just to hang out and play in the woods.

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Event for Biodiversity Week May 2018

For Biodiversity Week this year, we held an evening of talks by local experts on biodiversity, wildlife, and pollinators, for a practical evening on how to get to know your pollinators and local wildlife, how to get to know the best plants for pollinators, and how to develop your garden or community space into pollinator and wildlife-friendly area by introducing a variety of native habitats.

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Maynooth Forest School Project April 2018

Epic week 6 of our ten-week Heritage in Schools Forest School programme in Maynooth. We are in this gorgeous woodland corner on the grounds of the university, and one of the local primary schools has come to us for a 10-week Forest School Programme. This week there was lots of caretaking of worms, slugs, and …

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Iveragh Learning Landscapes October 2017

Ciara Hinksman and I were down in West Kerry this weekend to facilitate an introduction to Forest School session in the stunning Killarney National Park. We had a wonderful day, and a wonderful group – for Iveragh Learning Landscapes 2017.

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Forest School Programme Marlay Park October 2017

We have been running a 10-week programme with a local boys and girls school that are local to merely park in Dublin, we have a gorgeous little corner of woods in a corner of the park, you would barely know we were in the city!

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New Heritage in Schools Website September 2017

Nice article on the launch of the new Heritage in Schools website with whom I have worked with for nearly a decade now doing school gardens, living willow sculptures and forest schools.

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Another Love Story Festival August 2017

Myself and Erin created a Celtic pattern archway, a clustered giant willow lantern that hung from a tree, among other creations for this year’s Another Love Story. Here are the behind-the-scenes of the willow lanterns drying after being covered in tissue and PVA!

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Biodiversity Garden John Sullivan Wheelchair Association Centre August 2017

We got our wildlife pond in this season, so we are just waiting for some tadpoles and other wildlife to arrive! We had a visit from Brigid Loughlin from the County Kildare Heritage Office to check in on our progress at the biodiversity garden!

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Inaugural IFSA Conference May 2017

We held the Irish Forest School Association inaugural conference on May 20th and 21st at the Irish National Heritage Park in Wexford.

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New Willow Dome March 2017

Beautiful job by 5th and 6th class from Loreto Dalkey on their new willow dome, what a location for it backing onto the sea!

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Hedgelaying at Mount Briscoe Organic Farm February 2017

Great day hedge-laying at Mount Briscoe Organic Farm with my pal Erin Gonseth, and helping master hedge layer, Eoin Donnelly at work – it is an art unto itself!

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Festival of Outdoor Learning May 2016

Check it out, doing a bit of willow at the Festival of Outdoor Learning in April, very exciting! Lucy Bell from Growing Wild – will be giving a workshop on creating mini willow domes!

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Willow dome-in St. Patrick’s National School, Skibbereen March 2016

I erected this dome and tunnel with 3rd and 4th class from St. Patricks NS in Skibbereen last year, what an amazing school garden project!

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Willow Dome October 2016

Lovely willow dome and kiddies tunnel project up in Smithboro in Monaghan today with the fabulous willow weaver Beth Murphy and what a glorious day!!

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Giant Bee Screen July 2015

Building our giant willow screen for our lucky bees in the IWA Clane!!

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Honeybees Update!

In checking the bees at the Irish Wheelchair Association Clane, we found a few unwanted queen cells knocking about in one hive, so a close eye must be kept so we don't get a swarmed hive! Spotted the queen in the first hive though so all is well!

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Transformation at the Kilcock Men’s Shed April 2015

The final session at the Kilcock Men’s Shed today… I think the lads have done an amazing job – here are a few snapshots of the project and a before and after shot, it’s quite a transformation!

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Festival of Outdoor Learning April 2015

Teaching a little Fox Walking at my Forest Schools workshop as part of The Festival of Outdoor Learning at Kippure Estate at the weekend, great weekend, so many amazing people working in the outdoors with young people!

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All about the Willow! April 2015

It’s all about the willow this week – a gorgeous willow dome built by the 6th class of Rathfarnham Educate Together NS on Monday, willow fence at Ashgrove Community Garden on Tuesday and Willow archway at Kilcock Men’s shed today!

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Planting Native Trees – Wheelchair Association November 2014

Planting some native trees with the members and staff, in a small thicket woodland in the Irish Wheelchair Association in Clane last week – adding to our bees and heritage orchard!

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Derrinturn House Estate Community Garden Project November 2014

The crew and I at Ashgrove Estate in Derrinturn got creative in the quiet corner of the estate and erected 4 willow archways across the paths in the estate.

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Pilot Forest School Project October 2014

I have completed my 6-week pilot Forest School Programme. I worked with the special needs group from my local secondary school. We had 8 boys down in the woods with their teacher Ms. Flynn, who is an old schoolmate of mine from secondary school days.

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Training to be a Forest School Leader

October 2013 I have concluded the last part of my training to be a Forest school leader, what a wonderful week in the woods with amazing trainers and the most epic of groups to be part of! I can’t wait to get my paperwork completed, run my pilot, and become a fully-fledged Forest school leader!

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Body & Soul June 2013

This year I got to have a go at creating some beautiful willow fences to frame the space in the Healing Area of Body & Soul and I also had a go at a vertical garden type effect for the secondary stage in body and soul.

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Summer Camp in Dublin Zoo July 2012

I got the chance to run a weeklong summer camp in Dublin Zoo this summer, we had a great week, pond dipping, sowing seeds, and exploring the zoo!

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Body and Soul June 2012

We had the honour of creating an entrance archway into the mainstage area this year, we got creative with our willow tissue discs and created a magical entranceway!

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Horticulture classes at the Acre project May 2012

We have been continuing our horticulture classes at the Acre project, this year, a great group of people who have got stuck in and helped transform and plant up the very large veg beds that are onsite! While doing their ETB module too!

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Heritage Potato Project as part of Edible Exhibition at Science Gallery, Dublin, 2012

In 2012, As part of The Science Gallery’s Exhibition ‘Edible’, I created 2 sections in the exhibition, we experimented with growing potatoes in glass containers, which we wrapped in black fleece so that we could allow the potatoes to grow as if they were underground, but we could pull back the covers and observe how the roots grow on a potato.

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It’s a GOLD for The Living Classroom Recycled at Bloom 2009 in the Phoenix Park!

Kerry Earth Education Project, for whom I used to work with and still collaborate on projects, had an amazing week at the Bloom Garden Festival in the Phoenix Park, scooping a Gold Medal for its model school organic garden, 'The Living Classroom (Recycled) and Best in Engaging Spaces Category, champion nettles!

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