New and renewed learning environments in Ireland

One of the main outcomes of the NEED project is inspiring environments for environmental education and edu-tourism. These new or renewed learning environments are situated in science centres, visitor centres and national parks, and in Ireland they are the following:

* The Burren Centre Kilfenora

A series of activities were designed to compliment the Burren Centre’s A Walk Through Time exhibition. Tasks encourage students to pay close attention to the exhibits and answer a series of questions about what hey see. Related activities were designed to focus on subjects such as The Last Ice Age; The Burren’s Winter Climate; Impacts of Climate Change and Disappearing Glaciers.


* The Cliffs of Moher Centre

In addition to a training course (geology and landscape of the cliffs and the Burren), a series of educational activities were developed for the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre. The activities are designed to encourage students/visitors to use the Atlantic Edge exhibits to understand the origin of the Cliffs of Moher. Other activities include identifying fossils in the building stones at the centre; and understanding natural hazards such as Earthquakes and Tsunamis, and how these events occur.  Read more..


* Burren National Park

An established nature trail in the Burren National Park (Green Nature Trail) was surveyed and a subsequent guide to geology and fossils along the trail was produced. This map can be used alongside the educational activities developed for use at the National Park. Activities include Interpreting Geological Maps; Understanding the Rocks of the Burren region; Reading the Stones of the National Park; and how rocks bend (fold) and break (fault).


* Farm Tours Co-Op

A series of geology and landscape information packs were developed and distributed to members of the Clare Farm Heritage Tours Co-op. A geology audit of each member’s land was carried out – and resulted in tailored information being provided to each landowner. An introductory training seminar (Geology and Landscape) was delivered to the members. The Farm Tours Co-op members can now provide guided information on the geological landscape, as well imparting their expert knowledge on farming, archaeology, culture and local history.

* The Burren Outdoor Education Centre

The Burren Outdoor Education Centre provides a range of classroom based and practical fieldwork programmes that deliver at all levels of education including specific projects for Leaving Certificate classes. A series of educational resources (maps, information posters, interactive Google Earth maps) have been developed for use on the centre’s education programmes. An adult evening course (run in Spring) was developed to deliver an education programme to the local community.


* Burrenbeo

A series of educational activities were developed for integration into the Burrenbeo Ecobeo education programme. The activities incorporated digital 3D GIS-Google Earth maps into learning activities.


* Local primary and secondary schools

A suite of educational classroom learning resources and novel digital presentation media were piloted at a selection of schools in the Burren. Visits to the schools allowed the educational merits of these activities and tasks to be evaluated. The successful activities were modified and incorporated into the activities for the learning centres listed above.