Burren event celebrates outdoor learning

Burren event celebrates outdoor learning


burrenPlace-based learning is about becoming more aware of our surroundings –wildlife, landscape, history and culture – through enlightening and enriching learning experiences. This July (10th-12th), place-based educators, outdoor instructors, parents and environmental champions from far and wide are coming together for two exciting days of creative workshops, fieldtrips and networking opportunities in ‘Ireland’s learning landscape’ – the Burren.

This Learning Landscape Symposium is not to be missed by anyone with an interest in their surroundings, and aims to leave the participants looking at their places with a whole new perspective and enthusiasm!

This year’s event is titled ‘Out to learn: principles & practice of learning from our places’.  Organised by the Burrenbeo Trust, a leading education and conservation charity, it will be held in Kinvara and out in the inspiring landscape of the Burren.  It will encourage people to not only look at different ways of engaging with their surroundings but also to develop ways to engage their audiences elsewhere with their environs as well. Through an exciting series of workshops and fieldtrips, educators, parents and anyone with an interest in place-based learning, or an interest for learning in the Burren, will learn about different methods to look at, and enthuse others about, their place.
Each workshop is led by facilitators who work professionally in connecting people with their surroundings.  Through storytelling, place name collection, interactive games, looking at nature’s influence on art and much more, different workshop leaders will enable participants to better engage with their place.

One such workshop leader is Sam Moore.  Based in the UK and the founder of Totem Development, Sam works on expeditions to some of the world’s highest peaks, fastest rivers and wildest landscapes, while always maintaining a strong focus on learning about  where you are through fun activities.  Mary White, another workshop leader, uses foraging for wild food and herbs as a way to engage both children and adults in their surroundings.   Sophie Nicol, who works with teenagers in Ballymun, uses nature’s influences on technology to engage with the teenagers she works with.

Symposium organiser, Brigid Barry, who is part of a team that pulls together different place-based learning programmes for the Burrenbeo Trust says “I find great delight in engaging both adults and children in their surroundings, natural or built, or stories from the area.  To connect people with where they are is an essential part of the future protection of that place.  Underpinning all our work here at Burrenbeo is the principle that all education and interpretation is really about helping people discover the world around them for themselves and in themselves, using that to increase the wellbeing for the individuals, their communities and their surrounding place” she explained.

Katy Egan, an annual contributor to the Learning Landscape Symposia commented “Last year, I came away feeling as though I had the opportunity to engage, learn and share ideas in a really multi-dimensional way; through creativity, social interaction, quietness and listening, stories, songs and action, involvement, intellectually and getting down and playing. I also loved the cross-pollination of ideas or the threads that ran between the workshops. It reaffirmed for me the importance of the connections between people and place and the value of empathy. It also reaffirmed for me the value of the work that I am engaged in and it was encouraging to meet people with similar views and ideas.”

This unique event is only €80 for two days (€70 for OAP/unemployed/students, €65 for Burrenbeo Trust members).  Spaces are limited so time to get booking! This can be done by contacting trust@burrenbeo.com and 091 638096.  The full programme can be viewed on www.burrenbeo.com.

This event is supported by The Heritage Council.