Aengus Kennedy

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Subject(s):
Science, History, Geography
Curriculum Strands:
Local Studies (History), Early people and ancient societies (History), Continuity and change over time (History), Human environments (Geography), Natural environments (Geography), Living things (Science)
Counties catered for:
Clare, Donegal, Kerry, Kilkenny
Classes catered for:
All Classes

Book Virtual / In-Person Visit


Aengus Kennedy is NatureNorthWest’s lead nature guide, specialising in Field Ecology at University College Cork. He has worked with both young and old in the outdoors for over twenty years. For five years, Aengus worked as an education guide for the National Parks and Wildlife Services education programme in Glenveagh National Park. He has worked for An Taisce running school visits and guided walks for all, produced biodiversity action plans for communities and has worked with Donegal County Council on a number of environmental programs. Aengus is the environmental representative on Donegal’s local community development committee and Leader area group committee. He is currently producing a series of nature videos for schools and is a regular contributor to Highland Radio’s John Breslin show on nature topics both local and global.

In-person visits

Aengus explores biodiversity, what it is, why we should care and how we can help in a range of different workshops. Aengus can visit in the school or take your group(s) to local nature areas. All Irish habitat types can be investigated and all class groups catered for, with age appropriate learning and curriculum linked activities.

Introduction to biodiversity and the 4 questions in the green flag survey, what is biodiversity, what are the main threats, what we can do to help and why we need biodiversity. Delivered in a fun and interactive way, students record answers for each question. This can be repeated in multiple classes or the same group can then explore their schools biodiversity, map their habitats and hunt for bugs with different outdoor activities. Ideal for two different classes in 1 day or with a senior class for the full day.

For either one or two class groups (split across the day), exploring their nearest shoreline. Learning about tides. Exploring sand dune habitats and how they work Exploring rocky shore habitat, identifying species and learning the five intertidal zones. Learning what coastal habitats do for us as protection. Activities can include ‘making sand’, beach art from natural materials, species identification with ID sheets, designing their own tidal zones and many more.

The session typically starts with a presentation in the school about bogs, their role in climate change and biodiversity, how they are formed etc. Students learn the difference between peat and soil and how these differences come about. This is followed by a visit to a local bog, exploring the difference between peat and soil, learning bog plants, making a book of collected specimens and finishing with an art activity where the students create their own ‘layers of a bog’ art work.

In this session we explore a local woodland or the trees near and around your school. Students learn about the importance of trees for climate change and biodiversity, how to identify their local trees, the difference between native and non-native, deciduous and conifers, bugs on trees, how trees help make soil and more. Activities such as leaf art, making a ‘mouse house’ and many others are included. This is a very tactile session, using most senses. Suitable and tailored to any age group, for a full day or 2/3 groups split over the day.

Nature sessions can be designed to fit your school or class needs. Whichever area within the curriculum you need to cover, a session can be designed to fit within. Sessions around a specific type of bird, mammal or plant can be catered for or more general sessions around minibeasts or natural history for example. If there is an area of biodiversity you would like covered with a class or multiple classes, please get in touch.

Virtual visits

Classes: 3rd to 6th

Materials: Large sheet of card per pod, small sheet of card per pod for labels, scissors, blutack/prittstick or equivalent. Pencil and strong colours (twistables/markers etc.)

Session 1 (pre-recorded, approximately 15 mins)

Short video introduction to be shown in the classroom exploring woodland diversity, food chains within and how they overlap and form a food web. There will be a practical outdoor exercise that may be conducted in the school grounds or surrounding area exploring simple food chain and this will be demonstrated on the video.

Session 2 (live, approximately 45 mins)

The virtual visit will introduce biodiversity, food chains, food webs and some examples and students will start to create their own food web poster.

By the lesson end, students will have an understanding of the concept of biodiversity, food chains, food webs and the interdependence within species, including ourselves.

Worksheets & teacher's notes:


Classes: 2nd to 6th

Materials: SESE copybook or a sheet of paper, colouring pencils for each student. Trays, jars, a stick and ID sheets (if taking part in the mini-beast hunt outside).

Session 1 (pre-recorded, approximately 15 mins)

Short video introduction to be shown in the classroom shot in a Donegal garden, showing where the wren makes their nests, where they ‘hang out’, the material they use to build a nest and a piece on how to hunt for bugs in bushes to find the food wrens like to eat.

Session 2 (live, approximately 45 mins)

  • Introduction and discussion on what the wren eats (what could be found on a mini-beast hunt) (10 mins)
  • How to draw a wren step by step, a simple format which the students follow and together we draw a wren in their SESE copybooks. (20 mins)
  • A five minute listening section with lots of wren facts; students pick their favourite four or five as they listen and write them beside their drawing. (5 minutes)
  • Feedback from students on their favourite facts and question time. (5-10 minutes).

Worksheets & teacher's notes:

• Teacher factsheet on mini-beast hunting and where to purchase suitable equipment and some online resources.

• Teacher factsheet about the wren.

• Practical tips on how to draw the wren in the classroom to help guide the students through this part of the lesson.

Testimonials

  • "We had so much fun learning about Food webs and biodiversity with Aengus. He was so engaging and made the topics completely relatable for the children. We really enjoy our workshops with Aengus. Thank you!" - Fintra NS, Donegal
  • "This is the best live lesson we've had. Aengus was amazing - so informative, enthusiastic and engaging. He made learning fun for all pupils." - Scoil Naomh Colmcille, Craigtown, Donegal
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  • "The children really enjoyed the lesson and engaged very well throughout," - Scoil na Croise Naofa, Donegal
  • "Aengus worked very well with the children and the staff, he has great enthusiasm which is very refreshing."
  • "The classroom lesson before going outdoors was very important. Aengus differentiated the lesson really well across the whole school. The children thoroughly enjoyed the lesson and were completely engaged for the whole day. Pupils were stimulated to the extent that they did lots of follow-up work with their families on the beach in mid-term break bringing all sorts back to school for sorting and discussion in the classroom (after mid-term). The pupils now have a great understanding of the biodiversity and the importance of the sea and the seashore."
  • "Aengus was very enthusiastic and the children really enjoyed the visit and learned and gained a lot of knowledge"
  • "Aengus had a great rapport with the children. He was very enthusiastic and the children were really engaged and enjoyed every minute of the day"
  • "Fantastic visit. Aengus brought a variety of stuffed birds and eggs/nests. Pupils enjoyed a talk and fieldtrip. Aengus linked in with 'Something Fishy' project with a fieldtrip to the lake. A wonderful, practical learning experience for pupils"
  • "The children really enjoy Aengus' visits and always look forward to the next one."
  • "Super engaging for the children, enjoyable workshop with info geared for both the junior and senior end of the school."
  • "Aengus Kennedy is excellent at explaining things and working with children."
  • "Aengus was excellent, he had a great range of resources and gave opportunity to children to work in groups."
  • "Fantastic learning experience as usual!"
  • "Fabulous!"
  • "OVERALL A VERY INFORMATIVE DAY AND THOROUGHLY ENJOYED BY ALL - DAY NOT LONG ENOUGH! AENGUS HAS A WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE TO IMPART AND IS SO PASSIONATE ABOUT HIS WORK."
  • "Aengus's enthusiasm and delivery to the children is simply the best. He motivates the children to think outside the box and to really think." - St. Joseph's N.S, Ratmullan
  • "Kept children engaged, information pitched well for class level, hands-on activities."
  • "Aengus has a wealth of knowledge and the children and teachers were all very impressed."
  • "A fantastic day for all pupils- Well done Aengus!" - Scoil Naomh Padraig, Drumfries
  • "Excellent varied interactive, hands-on sessions were enjoyed by all pupils." - Ayr Hill NS, Donegal
  • "Aengus was fabulous and the children gained so much knowledge and information. He was engaging and explained everything so clearly and at a level that children could understand." - Anon.
  • "An amazing day pitched at the correct level for all age groups used our environment and the kids were so enthusiastic. Great tutor." - St Baithin NS, Donegal
  • "An amazing educational experience for the pupils in the local area. Motivating pupils and instilling them with an interest for, and a love of,nature. Aengus has a wealth of knowledge which he manages to share in a lively, engaging fashion. Pupils and teachers had a great day exploring the autumn woodland habitat, visiting a local fort and learning about migration at Inch Wildlife Reserve." - Donagh NS, Donegal
  • "Excellent as always, thoroughly engaging and a perfect balance between classroom work and outside work." - Scoil Mhuire, Donegal
  • "Excellent specialist, has pupils fully engaged for workshops." - Ayr Hill NS, Donegal
  • "The facilitator was able to pitch at the correct Level for each group. A real success. The children got so much from the days." - St Baithin’s NS, Donegal
  • "Aengus is a breath of fresh air, he inspires and motivates the children to become global citizens who want to save the earth." - Gartan NS, Donegal
  • "Always an excellent hands-on workshop using the outdoors and local amenities to the maximum. This is hugely beneficial to both pupils and teachers to learn more about their local environment, in terms of biodiversity and local awareness( woodland exploration)." - Ayr Hill NS, Donegal
  • "We enjoyed a trip to woods in the local area. We were able to explore the area safely. Aengus told us about the different plants and mini-beasts that we came across. Aengus helped us to identify the different bird songs that we heard. The children enjoyed searching for the mini-beasts in small groups and using the little magnifying jars to have a better look. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to make little mouse houses, but hopefully that will be a nice activity to look forward to at another time." - St. Patrick's Girls' NS, Donegal
  • "We had a virtual visit with Aengus Kennedy recently which was excellent. Aengus sent us fantastic resources and materials prior to his visit which included teachers notes, recorded videos and activities for the children to complete. They particularly enjoyed taking part in the quizzes and completing the artwork. The children were totally engaged throughout the presentation and enjoyed answering and asking questions afterwards. A huge thanks to Aengus for his fabulous work!" - Anon.
  • "I cannot recommend this virtual Heritage in School session highly enough. The children were totally spellbound it. It was highly engaging, rich in education and so enjoyable. The children learned so much about the natural world that exists on their doorstep. It has even inspired some to conduct further research on our native birds. They have asked when can we do this again!" - Fintra NS
  • "My first and second class thoroughly enjoyed their heritage in school session with Aengus. He was enthusiastic and very knowledgeable about his subject. He kept the children engaged throughout with practical activities. We all learnt a lot." - SN na gCluainte
  • "A very rewarding piece of learning on the wren with efficient use of time." - St Patrick's Boys NS
  • "Our class thoroughly enjoyed our session with Aengus. His enthusiasm and knowledge engaged each pupil and created an interest in the topic discussed." - St Boden's NS
  • "What a brilliant initiative by Heritage in Schools live online sessions. Our Zooms with Aengus Kennedy were really outstanding. Thanks for the hard work behind these presentations." - Scoil Fhionáin
  • "This was a new experience for this class. The pupils enjoyed the preparation and the live lesson. They were totally engaged throughout . The presenter of course was already popular with many of the pupils." - Anon.
  • "We really enjoyed Aengus' lesson about the wren, delivered with his usual enthusiasm and love for all things nature. Aengus has a great wealth of knowledge and has a creative way of delivering it to the children." - Anon.
  • "Aengus' passion for nature really inspires the children too" - St Joseph's N.S. Rathmullan, Donegal
  • "A fantastic virtual visit...full engagement. They hung on to his every word." - Scoil Mhuire, Caiseal, Donegal
  • "Fabulous, Aengus enthusiasm and interest captivated the children,and they loved every minute." - Scoil Mhuire, Donegal
  • "Pupils enjoyed a mindful day, exploring and learning about nature on the school grounds. The visit consisted of sensory activities and the pupils were very involved in their learning. They made willow wreaths, the beginnings of a willow tunnel, explored leaf texture, bark and seeds of the trees and also planted a cherry tree. Aengus was engaging, enthusiastic and highly informed." - Donagh N.S., Donegal
  • "Aengus is great delivering the course to the junior end of the school. The children thoroughly enjoyed the day." - Faugher N.S., Donegal
  • "An excellent, well organised and informative day - very enjoyable." - St Davaddogs NS, Donegal

Additional Information

  • Provides in-person visits
  • Provides virtual visits
  • Caters for special needs
  • Provides practical/ hands-on activities
  • Provides field trips

Contact Details

Mobile:
086 812 3019
Email:
naturenthwest@gmail.com
Website:
naturenorthwest.ie/