05/06/14

05/06/2014 New Premises for the Education Programme at Glenveagh National Park

The Education Programme at Glenveagh National Park has moved into new premises at the Bridge House this month, due to its on-going growth and success. The Service, which works with around 2500 school children each year was in great need of space and improved facilities, especially with its new field studies days for secondary schools.

The Bridge House is an old cottage in the park, dating back to 1859 which has been used for a variety of purposes over the years both before and since the estate became a National Park.

The house will now provide two classroom style spaces for school groups to follow up their nature walks and field work, as well as a library and training facilities. As the only accredited Discover Science centre in the North West, the new facility will offer schools an even wider range of curriculum linked activities to gain their Science Award. The Centre also continues to support the Green Schools Biodiversity Initiative and the new premises will further contribute to this service.

Outside, the garden will be enhanced to provide a hands on learning area where groups can learn more about wildlife gardening and carry out insect, bird and small mammal surveys. The outdoor space is also proving a popular choice for leaving certificate ecology field work, where the garden and woodland offer a fascinating area to study.

A team of professional staff along with volunteers are helping create what will be a very special place for children of all ages and abilities, from both sides of the border to engage with the natural world and learn about the value of Ulster’s one and only National Park.

2014 has also seen the launch of a beautiful children’s workbook called ‘Minibeasts and Me’, funded by the Environment Fund for Biodiversity and written and produced by the Education Service at Glenveagh. The book is a follow up to a previous publication called ‘Our Trees’ done three years ago under the same funding. All school children across Donegal will receive a copy, which explains the value and importance of six common species along with activities and stories that have been cleverly linked to the National School Curriculum. Schools can contact the centre to receive their copies or collect them on their visits to the Park.

Commenting on the provision of new premises for the Education Programme, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD, complimented the work going on in the Glenveagh Education Service to make the teaching of science, nature and biodiversity more attractive to our young people. The Minister stated:

Our National Parks throughout the country provide a tremendously rich educational resource. A visit to any of the parks presents a wealth of knowledge to the visitor be they student, teacher or parent.  The provision of these new premises, with classrooms, library and training facilities, will provide an atmosphere which is conducive to learning for everyone.  I would like to compliment the Education Service at Glenveagh on their wonderful new publication, ‘Minibeasts and Me’, which will help stimulate young students to learn about and engage more with their environment, and which also links in with the National School Curriculum.

For more information on the work of the Education Team in Glenveagh contact Clare Bromley on 0761 002 693 or clare.bromley@ahg.gov.ie

ENDS

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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