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Students explore biodiversity in ‘living classrooms’ in Falcarragh

Students from Gortahork learning about  trees and their leaves at Cluain na dTor.

Students from Gortahork learning about trees and their leaves at Cluain na dTor.

BY SEÁN P. FEENY
NATIONAL schools from around the west have enjoyed a very exciting pilot biodiversity project in the parish of Cloughaneely.

Art, Earth and the Environment at Cluain na dTor Nursery in Falcarragh is an educational art project exploring the natural habitat, food and seed growing aimed at 9 to 10-year-olds and facilitated by artist Deirdre Brennan and gardener Joanne Butler.

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The two facilitators compiled a fun and exciting way to learn and develop key information and knowledge about our biodiversity through the medium of art which has already been enjoyed by nearly 100 students from different schools.

The project is designed to stimulate, educate and create awareness in young people in a creative and imaginative way so they can understand how to sow seeds /grow food, where it comes from and to respect and realise how important our environment and biodiversity is.

A young student from Caiseal na gCorr sketches the leaves she has learned about at Cluain na dTor.

A young student from Caiseal na gCorr sketches the leaves she has learned about at Cluain na dTor.

Activities include making art diaries, tree and leaf identification, visiting the pond habitat and the bug hotel, seeing the seed grow, visiting a natural bee hive and much more.

Deirdre Brennan is an artist and one of the directors of An Cosan Glas Sculpture Project who has an in-depth knowledge of art workshops, working with community groups since 1995.

Vegetable gardener Joanne Butler is a community gardener with nine years experience naturally growing vegetables at her home in Donegal.
She is currently running community gardens in four locations in West Donegal as well as running the one-day complete learn to grow classes at Cluain Na dTor.

Cluain na dTor Nurseries and Gardens was established over 20 years ago. It not only boasts wonderful gardens which are open to the public but over two thirds of the nursery are also being developed as a wildlife garden, with trees and shrubs being planted annually to create a richly varied habitat for native species and is an ideal location for the ‘living classroom’.

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The workshops are funded by the Donegal County Council and Údarás na Gaeltachta will involve over 120 local children and will conclude on June 14.

Murroe National School students enjoying their day at Cluain na dTor.

Murroe National School students enjoying their day at Cluain na dTor.

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