KEEP Spring School News

Since September 2010, KEEP has worked with the following schools:

Fybough National School has planted a living willow fence with archways into the orchard and a living willow dome – called ‘The Reading Room’ by the children!

Fossa National School have made a school grounds plan, built 8 raised beds with gravel pathways and planted native hedgerows around their grounds.

Ardfert National School have planted 480 native hedgerow plants around their grounds and mulched them – well done to all their classes!

Tralee Educate Together have made a school grounds plan and done 2 days good work to lay a pathway of recycled slabs, build 4 raised beds, plant a living willow fence and plant a beech hedge.

Castleisland Presentation Primary visited Gortbrack Organic Farm in February to learn about local organic food and biodiversity.

Killorglin Youth Group are doing an ongoing project to learn about organic food production, willow craft and the biodiversity of Kerry.

Stella Maris Secondary and Fenor Priomary School, Tramore, Waterford, both carried out a garden planning day with funding from Tesco Tramore.  Pupils at Fenor built a pond and Stella Maris Green School committee planted an orchard, a soft fruit area and a woodland.

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Tree Nursery Pack

The Tree Nursery Pack is now online thanks to the Heritage Council – open it from the Tree Nursery Project page on our website to learn how to make your own tree nursery in school, home or community garden.

The Tree Nurseries in Schools project was carried out throughout the Autumn term.  Caherleeheen NS, Flemby NS, Nuachnabhail NS, Blennerville NS, Ardfert NS and Shanakill Community Garden successfully grew over 200 trees from seed gathered in Ballyseedy Woods.  Each group had a trip to Ballyseedy Woods to gather more seed to restock the tree nursery and to plant trees that were grown in the first year of the project.  The tree nursery project was rolled out to Co Meath; KEEP ran a weeks training course for educators in Sonairte (the National Ecology Centre). The project was made possible with funding from the Heritage Council.

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Need help with a Green Schools project?

Elemental Education Offers a series of 5 workshops for 3rd to 6th class on the cycles of life. They focus on the essential cycles that ensure our survival on the earth covering the water cycle, photosynthesis, soil formation, mini beast investigation and the carbon cycle.
Each workshop includes explanations, games, quizzes and a practical art & craft session.

The workshops compliment the NCCA Primary School Curriculum and the Green Schools Scheme.


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We offer guided Organic Food and Habitat trails, including seasonal nature orienteering, practical outdoor activities, treasure hunt and a farm tour.

Gortbrack Organic Farm has a diverse range of ecological & native Irish habitats, ranging from wildlife ponds, bog land, stonewalls, hedges and woodlands to organic vegetables, herbs, polytunnels (all weather), composting, living willow sculptures and a Kerry cow.

One theme from below can be chosen as a focus for the trip:

  • Local organic food
  • Water
  • Soil & compost photosynthesis
  • The carbon cycle
  • Bugs in the garden
  • Botany  & seed saving
  • Renewable energy
  • Woodlands & hedgerow habitats
  • Biodiversity

Time: Approximately 10.00am – 1.30pm
Includes worksheets for pupils and support material for teachers.
Cost: €10 per child (plus €50 farm fee per group)
KEEP are Heritage Specialists under the INTO/Heritage in Schools Scheme, which also offers a series of 5 visits –

contact KEEP or the INTO for more information.

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The Living Classroom Project (ongoing)

Set up an organic garden in your school

Develop your own vegetable garden, herb beds, woodland, heritage orchard; native hedgerow; pond and wildlife areas with KEEP, organic advisors to Bord Bia’s current educational DVD project ‘Organic Gardens in Schools’. The whole school can be involved in the project; teachers, pupils and parents.

KEEP works on long-term sustainable school garden projects, designing the whole school grounds into a Living Classroom, linking in with the school curriculum and bringing children out of the classroom and into the garden, seeding, growing and eating food grown in the school.

KEEP also assist with ongoing maintenance of the garden with pupils, using the garden as a living classroom to develop a thorough knowledge of sustainable, organic and natural gardening, local food growing, wildlife and biodiversity.

** DVD Available now from Bord Bia – free to all schools! **

Both practical and theoretical environmental education is used and the programme links with the NCCA Primary Schools curriculum (SESE), Social, Personal & Health Education (SPHE), The Food Dudes Programme and the Green Schools Scheme.

(KEEP are Heritage Specialists under the INTO/Heritage in Schools Scheme, which also offers a series of 5 visits – contact KEEP for more information)

KEEP have worked with the following schools over the last 2 terms:

  • Fybough National School has planted a native hedge and started an orchard.
  • Cromane National School has made a school grounds plan and planted a mixed native woodland of 180 trees!
  • Douglas National School has made a school grounds plan and is hoping to start work on their garden soon.

Derryquay National School have been bringing the oaks back to Derrymore by planting a native oak woodland in their grounds. They have also planted a section of native hedgerow and lots of vegetables in their raised beds.

Donaghmede National School in Dublin (featured on the Bord Bia DVD) has finished planting their native woodland and planted a hedgerow. The Tree Nurseries in Schools project will be starting again in September with thanks to the Heritage Council.
KEEP will help the school with existing tree nurseries to plant out any trees which have grown and will also be working with another county to start a similar project.

Contact Ian or Cathy:
066 7137042
087 9246968

Farm Tours, please contact Cathy 085 7782289

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