17 May 2022

Forest classroom announced for Offaly under exciting project

Forest classroom announced for Offaly under exciting project

Forest classroom announced for Offaly under exciting project

Coillte and the Environmental Education Unit (EEU) of An Taisce have announced the delivery of six new An Choill Bheags (little woodlands) in primary and secondary schools across Ireland, one of which will be based in Offaly located in Ballyboy NS, Kilcormac, Offaly.

Furthermore, there are a further five outdoor classrooms located in counties: Donegal, Kerry, Wicklow and Dublin, with two Wicklow schools selected.

An Choill Bheag (AnCB) is a long-term educational programme, an initiative of LEAF Ireland and the EEU of An Taisce. The aim of the initiative is to create small, dense native woodland habitats for biodiversity and an educational and recreational resource for the whole school community to enjoy.

Coillte is providing the native trees (including such species as oak, alder, wild cherry, rowan, scots pine, willow and whitethorn among others) for the students to plant and is funding the programme. The staff of the EEU and An Taisce will create the little woodlands in collaboration with students and staff in the six schools. Students are encouraged to connect with woodland culture and biodiversity to understand their benefits to society, climate change, biodiversity and their local economy. 

“We are truly delighted to be working with LEAF Ireland and An Taisce to deliver this fantastic outdoor educational resource for schools and their students,” said Paul Jordan, Regional Manager, Coillte Forest. 

“The ‘An Choill Bheag’ initiative enables students to learn about the wonderful benefits that trees and forests offer in a fabulous outdoor setting – be it tackling climate change, and providing biodiversity, recreational amenities, and wood to build our homes,” he continued.

Rachel Geary from LEAF Ireland (EEU) said: “Climate change and biodiversity loss are the biggest issues facing us. This collaborative initiative will provide an opportunity to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss at a community level by planting native trees with our schools across the country. Not only will we be planting trees, but we will also educate and raise awareness about the importance of trees and the multifunctional benefits of forests.”

An Choill Bheag (little woodland) is an outdoor living classroom, which will bring small, dense, biodiverse native woodland habitats to school grounds.

Furthermore, as these woodlands develop, it’s envisaged that nature trails can be fostered and managed.

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