- Science, History, Geography
- Curriculum Strands:
- Story (History), Local Studies (History), Continuity and change over time (History), Human environments (Geography), Natural environments (Geography), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Living things (Science)
- Counties catered for:
- Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Wicklow
- Classes catered for:
- All Classes
Nessa Darcy is a Creative Entomologist whose mission is to reintroduce humans to their natural habitat through colourful encounters with insects. In addition to her ecology work in Ireland and Madagascar, she is an artist and member of an intercultural choir, bringing creativity and inclusivity to her workshops.
No matter what vegetation you have near your school, there is always something of interest to be found!
Virtual school visits
An introduction to moth recording, hedgerow surveys and the dazzling diversity of plant and moth interactions.
Classes: 3rd to 6th
Session 1 (pre-recorded, 20 mins):
This video will show the children and teacher how to assess the habitat and heritage quality of a local hedgerow and carry out some simple moth trapping techniques. It provides a close-up look at these diverse and beautiful mini-beasts, many of whom live in hedgerows. After watching the video and reading the guidelines, you and your class will be ready to venture out and explore a hedgerow or trap and record some moths.
Session 2 (live, up to 1 hour):
After carrying out one or more of these practical outdoor activities with their teacher or as homework, the class can present what they have found and ask questions in a live virtual visit. They will learn more about the lives of moths and explore their anatomy, wing patterns and names through drawing and creative writing. The format of this online workshop can vary and will be arranged in consultation with the teacher.
Worksheets & teacher's notes:
Notes for teachers will be provided with detailed guidelines on the surveying techniques, and links to resources for species identification and how to contribute records to citizen science schemes. A worksheet on insects and their food sources is also available.
- Hedgerow survey option: Clipboard, printed data sheet, pencil, secateurs/strong scissors, gardening gloves (optional), camera/phone with decent focus for taking photos of small things, bug jars (optional), strong plastic/canvas bag for carrying samples, measuring tape (optional).
- Moth recording option: A moth trap (good investment for the school), or a white sheet with bright torches/lamps, pegs and washing line, or sugar syrup (recipe included in resources) and a paintbrush, or access to a bathroom with a bright light and a householder with no fear of moths! Camera/phone with decent focus for taking photos of small things. Bug jars (optional).
- Classroom materials: Paper, pencils, crayons or colouring pencils. Depending on how in-depth you wish to go with your species recording, you might like to order some ID charts and books. I will provide recommendations for these, and links to free online resources. A visualiser will help me to see samples brought into the classroom more clearly in order to identify them, but is not essential.
In-person school visits
My work celebrates the diversity of living things, specialising in insects and their habitats in Ireland. I introduce children to the identification of invertebrate species, their fascinating biology and ecology and their usefulness as habitat engineers and pollinators. The pupils will learn scientific methods for sampling and recording insects, and get to know the plants and habitats on which they depend.
To create really engaging, memorable experiences I incorporate visual art, storytelling and music into my workshops and outings. I aim to get pupils actively involved in national citizen science recording schemes and encourage them to support biodiversity at school and at home.
Nessa demonstrates how to create a pitfall trap in your garden to catch live ground beetles and other invertebrates.
Nessa tells a dramatic old Irish folk tale about interspecific interactions. Legend has it that two different types of beetle once fought over a juicy slug, but all may not have been as it seemed. Learn about the ecology and anatomy of ground beetles and the devil's coach horse beetle.
"I am booking Nessa again for my class again next year!"
"The children thoroughly enjoyed their time with Nessa and learnt loads about insects. Nessa had very creative art ideas on the theme of insects."
"Very interactive, well organized presentation." - St Catherine ‘s NS, Dublin
"The students really loved the field work and were engaged throughout." - Hansfield ETNS
"This was a lovely workshop for the pupils, thoroughly enjoyed and very beneficial. Nessa shared her love for the environment and her wonderful knowledge as an entomologist with our pupils, giving both an indoor and an outdoor presentation. She spoke about insect biodiversity, pollinators etc. Nessa listened with great interest to our pupils' contributions to the discussion period." - Anon.
"Nessa was excellent before, during and after the visit. She was very accommodating and was fantastic with the children. Nothing was a problem and I'd be delighted to work with her again." - Saint Tolas, Clare
"This is our first time having Neasa but we will definitely have her back again." - Harold's Cross NS, Dublin
"Nessa was so knowledgeable and came prepared with excellent resources the children were excited to use. She incorporated games into the workshops and worked so well with the children. A really successful workshop - thank you Nessa!" - St. Peter's NS, Meath
- Provides in-person visits
- Provides virtual visits
- Caters for special needs
- Provides practical/hands-on activities
- Provides field trips