‘Aengus has visited Scoil Mhuire, Ramelton on many occasions over the past two years.
His expertise on all topics related to nature, outdoors and biodiversity is both inspiring and exhilarating as he allows the children to get involved and discover this wonderful world themselves.
The children here have enjoyed learning and exploring habitats, trees, birds, woodlands, and forests ,all within their local environment, by simply being allowed time to connect with nature and engage with their natural surroundings.
Aengus fully embodies the “Let Nature be your Teacher” ethos, as his approach to lessons is always hands on and discovery orientated. His easy going and gentle manner with both the children and staff make Aengus a pleasure to deal with.
Through his visits he has enabled the children and teachers to acquire a deep understanding and appreciation of their natural environment. His lessons are fully integrated with the SESE curriculum and always allow for cross curricular opportunities. Aengus’ input was a major factor in our school being awarded our 5th Green Flag for Biodiversity in May 2014.
Both the children and teachers love to see Aengus coming and we look forward to his visits again for the 2014/15 school year.’
Ms. Leala McCusker
Principal, Scoil Mhuire, Ramelton, Co. Donegal Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel / Fax: (074) 9151215
‘Aengus has worked with the pupils of Gartan N.S, on a number of occasions. We were already familiar with him through his role in Glenveagh National Park and were delighted when his expertise became available for schools through the Heritage in Schools Scheme. Aengus has a wealth of knowledge of a wide variety of habitats, under his guidance the pupils have learned about mammal life, the seashore habitat, bog life and the woodland environment. Most recently, Aengus worked with our pupils on the theme of birdlife. He facilitated a visit to Inch Wildlife reserve for the whole school. Aengus is enthusiastic, has fantastic communication skills and really motivates the pupils to become engaged in their learning. He works equally well with the varying age groups. The learning is embedded with practical tasks whereby the children explore the environment (or relevant resources) and make discoveries for themselves. Aengus is extremely well prepared to teach the children in terms of providing ICT resources, real life objects and a willingness to take the children into the habitat and guide their learning with spotter sheets etc. Aengus’ teaching style is fully in line with the principles of the S.E.S.E curriculum. The pupils love his visits and learn so much each time. We look forward to seeing Aengus this school year again!’
Ms. Caroline Carey, Principal, Gartan National School.
‘Aengus Kennedy visited our school at Magherabeg, Manorcunningham on October the 16th. He accompanied the junior and senior infant classes to Inch Wildfowl Reserve. On arrival at the school Aengus quickly engaged very well with both staff and pupils alike and his ability to communicate with people of all ages was immediately apparent. Before setting of on our trip Aengus spent time in the classroom where he introduced the children to some of the nature and nature concepts that they would be exploring. Through a variety of props the children’s enthusiasm for the trip was quickly fostered and great excitement was generated within the classroom. What was very striking was Aengus’ ability to communicate with such young children and get down to their level and his ability to make something so simple as seeds or a cone seem so exciting. His ability to generate such enthusiasm and to quickly connect with not only each and every child but also with staff is quite unique.
On arrival at the reserve the enthusiasm increased as the children engaged in tactile, hands-on and curriculum-linked activities. They explored the wonders of both hedgerow and woodland habitats and despite the time of year each and every child was engaged. The exploration culminated with simple activities that were age-appropriate and stirred within the children a great interest and love of nature.
On arrival back at the school Aengus created yet more excitement when he announced that each child would become a prince of princess of the woods. They quickly got to work creating their very own crowns with natural materials gathered around the school grounds. The atmosphere was quite magical as parents arrived to collect their children and since the trip we have have had many requests for Aengus to return to our school. We look forward to his return in the Spring and the senior classes will also be availing of his services as we were so impressed.’
Ms. Bernadette Buchanan, teacher, Magherabeg National School, Manorcunningham
‘Our bird camera is now up and running with an inhabitant already moved in! We are delighted, thanks for your help and advice!’
Ms. Michelle O’Donnell, teacher, Lurgybrack National School, Letterkenny
‘Aengus came to our school to do a Biodiversity day with the senior classes, 3rd to 6th class. It was a very enjoyable and educational day for pupils and teachers alike. The day began with an interactive, child-friendly and well-resourced discussion on biodiversity. Then with guidance from Aengus, the children drew aeriel maps of the local town on A4 sheets. After that we went on a walk down the town to visit some of the local biodiversity ‘hotspots’ and when we returned to the school the children worked in groups drawing larger maps on A2 paper, highlighting the local ‘hotspots’. It was clear from the onset that the children enjoyed every part of the day thanks to Aengus who captured their interest and imagination throughout. I would recommend naturenorthwest to any school and I intend making ‘Biodiversity Da’y an annual event at our school.’
Ms. Anita Finnerty, Principal, St. Marys. N.S. Ardara
Ms. Deirdre Dillon, Scoil Aodh Rua agus Nuala, Donegal Town
Ms. Tracy Boyle, Scoil Naisiunta Mhin Teineadh
‘Our school was recently in the very fortunate position of having Aengus Kennedy deliver one of his hands-on workshops exploring the diversity of habitats in our local school setting.
His great knowledge on all topics, and his ability to communicate with pupils of all ages and abilities about biodiversity and nature was both inspiring and highly enjoyable for the children, and everyone learned a vast amount about their own local area over the course of the day.
Aengus had an excellent, entertaining, fully integrated approach to the teaching of this aspect of the SESE curriculum, and he held the pupils attentions, and captivated their imaginations with many opportunities of talk and discussion, collaborative learning and brainstorming questioning.
After our initial introduction to the concepts of biodiversity, we left the classroom setting and we examined many different habitats, from hedgerows, grassland, stone wall and sea shore.
From his preparation, he knew the area very well, and knew the areas that would be of interest. After our field trip, he assisted the children in constructing our own maps of the area, which in itself was a great and highly enjoyable lesson for all concerned.
I have received tremendous feedback from parents and children, I thank Aengus for his help, enthusiasm and advice, and we look forward to his return visit to our school next year.’
Mr. Conor Conaghan, Brackey School, Ardara
‘I was delighted to be part of and support this innovative and worthwhile project. Children got the opportunity to abandon the desks and technology and explore the beautiful landscape around them. Both the children and the teachers thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The children learned so much about their locality, thus engendering a respect for their environment and local heritage and a realisation of all that is out there just waiting to be explored. Learning through the local landscape and connecting the curriculum to the outdoors provides many opportunities for integration with all areas of the curriculum and when utilised is proven to be a very worthwhile and fruitful methodology. I wish to commend Aengus for acquiring the funding from Agenda 21 to do this work with the schools and his praise was expressed by all concerned for his ability to enthrall the children and make the whole experience so enjoyable. The spirit of partnership displayed by the teachers in the schools in the Ardara area was exemplary as always; ever willing to go the extra mile and they in no small measure ensured the success of the project also.’
Ms. Sally Bonner, Director, County Donegal Education Centre
‘I refer to the public walks you led for An Taisce, Donegal Association in the summer of 2014 – the Dawn Chorus in Letterkenny Town Park in May, the two Bat walks in Ramelton and Rathmullan House in June. I also refer to the beach walks you organised and led for St Joseph’s National School, Rathmullan and St. Garvan’s National School Drumhalla on our behalf.
We received tremendous feedback on the occasion of these walks, and since, extolling your energetic presentation skills. These have the rare ability to be so informative and entertaining. Your knowledge of the natural world in all its variety is most impressive, but more impressive is how you make it understandable and fascinating to all age groups and interests.
Looking forward to repeating these successes in 2015.’
Mr. Noel Foley, Commmittee Member, An Taisce, Donegal Association.