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Iveragh Learning Landscapes 2018

Updated: Nov 29, 2018

Iveragh Learning Landscapes was in its third year and again, was a resounding success with very positive feedback from all participants. A great mixture of workshops were offered from;

  • Gardening For Biodiversity

  • Using The Marine Environment For The Classroom

  • Forest Schools

  • Learning with Fire.

Our expert facilitators showed the participants how to integrate the outdoor place-based learning into their classrooms and increased their general knowledge on the natural environment of Iveragh.

Developing natural pigments Den designed by children Making stamp blocks

We interviewed the two founders of the conference, Lucy Hunt and Eleanor Turner, on their perspectives of place-based learning.

How do you define place-based learning?

LH: Learning in situ, in an actual place; about the place -outside or inside.

ET: I’m paraphrasing here, but the Áine Bird from the Burrenbeo Trust used a lovely definition for place - based learning during her talk at our Iveragh Learning Landscapes event that goes something like: learning about place, for place and in place, including the natural and built heritage of the area.

What got you interested in place-based learning?

LH: I have been involved in place-based education since I started working in marine awareness e.g. our Seashore Safaris at Sea Synergy. Also, attending the Burrenbeo Trust Learning Landscapes event made me think about hosting events about place-based learning.

ET: I travelled for several years after graduating from university and it was only when I returned home, it occured to me that everything I was hoping to experience out in the world away from what I had thought of as a teenager as a small,somewhat boring place, was what millions of people paid to travel to and experience every year along the dramatic coast of Kerry. The place I was lucky enough to call my home. This realisation for me coincided with several other events- namely the opening of Sea Synergy in Waterville and attending my first Learning Landscapes symposium in the Burren. I think growing up on a farm, I have always been connected to the land and so to learn about the disconnect from place that was being experienced by so many due to various reasons affected me deeply. These events sparked my interest in place-based learning and how we could connect people better to their place and understand how much our landscape has to offer not just in terms of resources, but also for personal wellbeing.

How do you recommend that schools can integrate place-based learning into their subject areas/curriculum?

LH: Using our local environment in all subjects can allow teachers to integrate place-based education from history, geography, maths and environmental studies. One can create a nice cross-curricular lesson plan from a local walk where the students learn experientially.

ET: Integrating place-based learning into school subject and curriculum areas is so simple. Maybe I’m biased as it is something I do every day with the education programmes and outdoor activities through my work with Sea Synergy, but I really believe it is easier than most people think. From a geography class for older students looking at where the water for your house or town comes from, to an outdoor class for first class identifying the trees that grow around your school for environmental studies, you can integrate art with leaf rubbings and bark rubbings learning about patterns and textures from these trees and cataloging colours as they change throughout the seasons. There is a link from place-based learning to so many areas of our curriculum; it just takes a little thought and preparation and of course, enthusiasm!

Can you give some examples on how place-based learning has allowed students to become more aware of SDGs 11, 14, 15? What local topics, issues, or projects are likely to be meaningful for students on the Iveragh Peninsula?


SDG 11 Experiential learning - participating in a town Scavenger Hunt that is designed to observe how the community is organised, planned and run.

SDG14 Life Below Water - Sea Shore Safaris

SDG 15 Life on Land - Water Catchment Day or Sit Spot Observation

ET: Awareness of SDG 11, 14 and 15 can absolutely be encouraged through place-based learning. Place-based learning is about your place, both natural and built - and so ties in directly to the SDG’s mentioned above. Local topics that have come up often that are meaningful for local students here in the Iveragh Peninsula include things like ocean plastics, the future of agriculture, access to wild places, species conservation; particularly our freshwater species like salmon and sea trout. I think my own filters are at work here too, as a marine biologist and a farmer’s daughter, these are issues that would be very close to my heart and so I think I connect first to students who share the same concerns! Other topics that come up regularly when speaking to youths in the area are concerns around social inclusion and social outlets and future employment opportunities.

How is student learning assessed?

ET: Student learning in Place-Based education can be assessed in many ways - some of the ways I have used in my practice would include project work, including reflection after workshops where students create artwork based on what they have seen or learned in the workshop. We also use multiple choice quizzes as a way to engage students in assessments in a fun way.

What place-based learning opportunities are happening on the Iveragh Peninsula?

LH: CoDesRes, Iveragh Learning Landscapes, Sea Synergy activities

ET: The opportunities for place-based learning on the Iveragh Peninsula are endless, just step outside and look around, question what you see, why is it there, why was it designed that way, who built it/planted it? Individuals can engage in place-based learning by simply being more observant in what they see, families can head out at the weekend and rediscover their place and learn the hows and whys.

If you’d like to join a programme or take a workshop, come along to Sea Synergy all summer and join us on the lake or the coast. Get your ticket to Iveragh Learning Landscapes 2019 and join us for a weekend learning from local and international experts in the field, sometimes literally in a field!

The CoDesRes team is also delivering place-based learning classes in transition year in Colaiste na Sceilge and through various community events so get in touch and follow us on Facebook for upcoming events.

How can a community become involved in place-based learning opportunities? Does this help sustain them?

LH: Learning about local environment and heritage and integrating it into their business or creating a business from it e.g. Sea Synergy. Yes it does help sustain the business, especially as they can integrate these place-based learning techniques into shoulder

ET: Place-based learning is all about your place, wherever you are, your place, knowing more about your local area can only help to strengthen your business. From seeing new opportunities emerging, to understanding better the systems in place that support your work. Communities can use place-based learning to inform local development, to better understand and manage resources. There are also new business opportunities to be found in your place, and discovering your place will help to highlight them. As Lucy said, there are even opportunities in developing place-based learning events and courses to extend business seasons and encourage visitors to delve deeper into the area. With increasing awareness of the damaging effects disconnection from nature and place can have in human health and well being there is an increasing interest in events and courses that offer outdoor learning and place- based learning and so an increasing opportunities for organisations to offer these types of products.

We are already looking forward to Iveragh Learning Landscapes 2019!

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