Bird Feeders

I love to celebrate the Winter Solstice, filled with the hope that light brings to our life, and look forward to watching the days lengthen over the coming months. While we may gain more daylight, our days will still be cold and our birds may continue to struggle to find enough food to keep them plump and warm through to spring.

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Behaviour, who is it challenging?

I always thoroughly enjoy spending time with my Forest School family and have been blessed to once again join in supportive community, this time at the beautiful Crann Óg Eco Farm outside Gort, Co Galway.  Twelve Forest School Leaders from all over Ireland gathered together to deepen our connection to our work in the woods and to explore Working with Challenging Behaviour in the Outdoors.  Our facilitator, Jon Cree, chair of the UK Forest School Association, guided us expertly and carefully along the path of what was at times a challenging and thought provoking, but ultimately, fulfilling experience. Read More

Hibernation

As the seasons change our mornings have definitely turned a little crisper, so as we wrap up with extra socks and gloves and scarves it is time to think of ways to help the creatures with whom we share our woodlands during the winter months.  Some animals such as badgers reduce their activity during the cold winter months, while foxes grow a heavier coat in Autumn to prepare them for the cold.  Bats and hedgehogs are the only mammals in Ireland that hibernate, and while we may associate hedgehogs with hedgerows and gardens, they are also found in our woods. Read More

Leaf Art

Getting back to the woods with my preschool group at Muddy Boots was something I’d been looking forward to since we finished up last June.  I knew that it would mostly be new children, with just five children from last year staying on for another year.  It was bittersweet saying goodbye to all those children who were moving onto primary school, but I knew they were ready to face their next challenge and that their year of outdoor preschool and forest school once a week had them well prepared for the task. Read More

Seashore

As the weather starts to turn and autumn sets in, many people think that their beach days are over for another year.  Too often we assume that it must be sunny and warm in order for us to pack our bags and head to the sea.  But the seashore provides so much more than sunbathing and sunny swims.  As the tide comes in and then recedes again, we are left with a blank canvas on which to be creative and a wealth of materials from which to choose to decorate it with.  Read More

River run

We are very lucky in Barna woods to have various streams running through the woods, although not all of them are running at all times.  With the amount of rain that fell in August and continued into September, there has been an abundance of mud and running water, two things that fill any child’s heart with joy upon encountering them.  If you are lucky enough to have water in your forest, or field, or any other green space that you have access to, make sure to take advantage of all the possibilities of endless fun that water holds. Read More

Miniature Playgrounds

With schools having opened their doors again this week many will be feeling the strain of returning to the structures and routines associated with back to school.  Those who were lucky enough to have a summer of roaming the great outdoors, barefoot and carefree, sitting in a classroom again will be a challenge. Read More

Sink and Fade

As we come to the end of the summer holidays, hopefully this does not signal the end of your trips to the woods.  The woods truly are a magical place to spend time all year round, and each season brings new treasures with it.  The woods will soon begin to brighten as the canopy loses its leaves and allows sunlight to fall on the woodland floor.  streams that may have dried up during the summer months may reappear and fallen leaves provide many opportunities for some serious fun.  But all that’s for another post, when autumn has been with us longer and those changes are much more evident. Read More

Camouflage

During my forest school training I always wore my purple waterproof jacket.  It wasn’t something I thought about, I just naturally donned my waterproof gear each morning as I set off for the magical woodlands of Hollywood, Co. Wicklow.  Maybe I should have given it some consideration, because one day we were told that we needed to disappear.  My brown and green hat was perfect for camouflaging in amongst the autumnal leaves and wooded areas.  However, purple, no matter how much I tried to obscure it, refused to be tamed!  So needless to say I was the first person spotted, but I had great fun in the mean time trying to work magic on my appearance and disappear into the backdrop of the woods. Read More

Tracking Wildlife

As the summer stretches on I often hear parents say that they have run out of places to take the kids.  However, I don’t think that there is any limit on how many visits you can make to the woods.  I work with children throughout the school year on a weekly basis, meaning that we visit the exact same patch of woodland over 30 times in a school year.  And yet they never tire of going there, and we never seem to run out of things to do while we are there.  Read More