Orla Bates - Heritage Experts | Heritage in Schools

Orla Bates

Profile Photo Orlabates
Orla  Bates 1  Botanic  Drawings
Orla  Bates 2  Seed  Prints
Orla  Bates 3  Irish  Mammal  Block Prints
Orla  Bates 5  Hedgerow  Workshop
Orla Bates 3
Orla Bates 7
Orla Bates 6
Orla Bates 5
Orla Bates 4
Orla Bates 2
Orla Bates 3
Orla Bates 1
Science, Geography
Curriculum Strands:
Natural environments (Geography), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Living things (Science)
Counties catered for:
Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford
Classes catered for:
All Classes

Book virtual / in-person visit

Órla is a visual artist and qualified teacher in art and design education. She has been delivering art workshops, projects, and a wide range of art education initiatives in primary schools for over fifteen years. During this time Órla has developed a special interest in our natural heritage and enjoys designing and facilitating workshops that use art and nature as a stimulus for children’s creativity.

Órla offers engaging, hands-on workshops and projects that link nature, art, and creativity. In each visit Órla uses the natural environment to stimulate children’s curiosity and creativity through visual art and outdoor learning. Her workshops feature a range of art making and outdoor activities, with a fun, cross curricular approach to learning about Ireland’s natural heritage.

In-person school visits

A visit with Orla offers a range of SESE topics to explore through the visual art strands. Topics can be adapted to suit different age groups and delivered as a one-day workshop or extended projects.

In Living things workshops we explore and learn about the variety of plants and animals through hands on investigations of Ireland's rich biodiversity. Activities aim to develop children’s curiosity and understanding of Ireland’s wildlife.

Living things topics include plant and animal identification, mammals, insects, marine life, Irish wild plants, plant and animal Life cycles, endangered animals.

Projects and activities can include Irish mammals’ printmaking, wild things sculptures, the Tiny Seed greenhouses, plant parts collages, observation drawings, botanical painting, outdoor nature games.

In Birds workshops we explore and learn about the wide variety of birds that live in our gardens and school yards. Activities encourage children to discover and identify Ireland’s common birds in their everyday surroundings. This topic provides lots of opportunities to take learning outside and develop children’s connection to wildlife.

Topics include bird identification, nests and habitats, bird calls, migration and Biodiversity.

Projects and activities can include bird sculptures, construction with natural materials, fabric and fiber nests, styrofoam bird printing, observation nest drawing, watercolour feathers, find your flock game.

In Habitats workshops we explore a range of habitats found in the school grounds and the wider local environment. This topic engages children in activities that spark their curiosity and care for the natural environment and the diversity of plants and animals which live there. All habitat activities and ideas can be adapted to different schools and environments.

Habitat topics include hedgerows, trees, the seashore, rivers, plant and animal identification, ecosystems, food chains, biodiversity.

Projects and activities can include observation drawing outdoors, nature scavenger hunt, drawing from nature scroll books, 3D pop-up constructions.

In Season stories workshops we explore signs of the seasons and how the seasons affects living things. Children will connect with nature in outdoor explorations which allows children the opportunity to observe, wonder and create in response to the changing seasons. Activities can be repeated many times with the changing seasons and different times of the year.

Season stories topics include seeds, trees, leaf identification, wildflowers, colour change, plant folklore, plant life cycles

Projects and activities can include field sketchbooks, seasonal drawings, charcoal drawings, forest floor group drawings, leaf monoprints, shadow lanterns, seed prints.

In Marine life workshops we explore the wonders of Ireland’s marine wildlife and habitats, from the sandy shores to the deep oceans. Hands on activities engage children in explorations about the amazing creatures that live in Irish waters and the value of our oceans.

Topics include marine life in Ireland, biodiversity, seashells, seabirds, seaweeds, maritime folklore, endangered species.

Activities and projects can include fish printing, observation drawings, shell printing, watercolour painting, pop-up sea stories, clay sculptures.

Virtual school visits

This workshop explores and investigates hedgerows as habitats through visual art and outdoor learning. Orla provides examples, guidance and support for creating collaborative scroll drawings, developed from student’s discoveries of natural environments in the school grounds.

Classes: 2nd to 6th

Materials: Scavenger hunt cards; A3 / A2 paper cartridge paper; tape; pencils; oil pastels; drawing pens; mixed drawing materials that are available in school; watercolour paints (optional) Corrugated card

Session 1 (pre-recorded, 15 mins):

A guide to flora and fauna of hedgerows and engagement activities on what to look out for including examples of how to gather and record findings outdoors.

Session 2 (live, up to 1 hour)

In the live visit Orla will guide the children through a drawing session to make collaborative scroll drawings based on observing gathered material.

Worksheets & teacher's notes:

A PDF will be provided with teacher guidelines for facilitating the outdoor session exploring hedgerows or other habitats that might be found near the school.


The workshop will link to the Visual Arts, Science and Geography curriculums.


  • "Orla went above and beyond to make the visit enjoyable & educational for the children. Not only did she have the challenge of delivering it via zoom but she also had a large class to cater for. My class throughly enjoyed the visit & learnt so much. Orla’s feedback to them is always positive but yet constructive thus ensuring they learn from her too. It is evident a huge amount of time when into her pre-session video & the structure of her zoom lesson - thank you Orla! I would love to do another session again next year. It was such a worthwhile & enjoyable experience. I highly recommend." - Scoil Realt Mara, Wexford
  • "The art Orla did with the students was fantastic. Her ideas were brilliant and the students particularly enjoyed making their art scrolls. They also really enjoyed the thought provoking cards to look for materials prior to the visit. I will certainly be using these cards and her art scrolls in future years." - Carlow ETNS, Carlow
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  • "Very enjoyable workshop which was very relevant to our Green Schools Biodiversity theme." - St.Laurence's NS, Kildare
  • "Excellent - Well organised and prepared - very interactive!" - Sacred Heart NS, Wexford
  • "The children really enjoyed the lesson with Orla. They were fully engaged for the hour. They were delighted with the work that they produced. Super lesson!" - Scoil Naomh Úna, Wexford
  • "Orla was excellent and held the children's attention throughout the zoom call. Would love when restrictions allow for Orla to come back to school as fantastic experience." - Boolavogue NS, Wexford
  • "The kids in my class thoroughly enjoyed their zoom with Orla on biodiversity and are very excited to take part in the blitz. The presentation was excellent." - Murrintown NS, Wexford
  • "My class and I had a very positive experience. The pre recorded video, nature hunt cards and hedgerow quiz we were sent were all very child and teacher friendly, and ticked many strands of the SESE curriculum. Children really enjoyed getting out in nature and had a structured visit to the garden and wildlife areas in our school using the resources Orla had sent. Orla is a wonderful artist and taught the art lesson in a way I never could. The children were so mindful as they followed Orla's lesson on zoom. A great experience for all." - Mercy Moyderwell Primary School, Kerry
  • "My class greatly enjoyed the whole experience! It was lovely to get outdoors exploring and Orla’s virtual workshop and interaction with the class was excellent. The children are all very proud of their finished art projects!" - Scoil Nuachabháil, Kerry
  • "The children thoroughly enjoyed the session and engaged very well considering it was a virtual session." - Scoil Moling Glynn , Carlow
  • "Super professionalism from Orla. Wonderful ideas, classroom management, lovely manner with both students and teachers"
  • "Órla has been coming to our school for quite a few years now to participate in our Annual Arts Week. Her workshops are always a highlight of the week for students and teachers alike. Órla has a fantastic way with the children and ensures that they become totally immersed in the subject matter. As always we would like to thank the scheme for giving us the opportunity to have her back again and we look forward to having Órla back again."
  • "From planning to the implementation of the lessons, Orla was excellent" - Kilmore NS
  • "Really lovely class, children got so much from it, highly recommend to other teachers" - Kilmore NS, Wexford
  • "This was our last visit form Orla. The children have really enjoyed every lesson. Today the children got to put their final pieces together and they really enjoyed this. Orla communicates very well with the children and she is very approachable. Orla had all the materials and resources to hand that the children needed. This was excellent as infants don't have the patience to wait. She demonstrated what they were to do and interacted with each group, helping and praising, throughout. The finished pieces of art turned out excellently and the children were delighted and very proud of their work!" - Scoil Naomh Maodhóg, Ferns, Co Wexford
  • "Órla had an excellent rapport with the children and all thoroughly enjoyed her visit." - Creenkill NS, Kilkenny
  • "Orla has been coming to our school for the last number of years and the children look forward to her visits each year. She is so organised and professional and has a fantastic way with the children." - Kennedy Park NS, Wexford
  • "True professional who worked with the children wonderfully. Orla was well prepared. She used 'The Grove' which is situated just beside our school as a stimulus and used elements of their trip to 'The Grove' to aid her lesson. Wonderful work." - Scoil Mhuire, Rosslare, Co Wexford
  • "Really lovely class, children got so much from it, highly recommend to other teachers" - Kilmore NS, Wexford
  • "A really enjoyable and interactive workshop. Órla interacted so well with the children and they thoroughly enjoyed it." - Wandesforde NS, Kilkenny
  • "She really brings the best out of the children in a fun & educational way. Órla was excellent in all aspects of the visit." - Scoil realt na Mara, Wexford
  • "Great sessions thoroughly enjoyed by all pupils on nature and wildlife around them .Super hands on activities to reinforce key learning ideas. Wonderful facilitator." - Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál, Kilkenny
  • "The children really engaged in the activity and enjoyed it." - Saint Iberius, Wexford
  • "Excellent contact with facilitator prior to visit, the content was very well prepared and well presented. Orla communicated with the pupils at their level with age/skill appropriate content. She was excellent, efficient and thorough throughout." - S.N na h-Aille, Tipperary
  • "As always Órla was so well prepared and before the visit had made contact with lots of support materials and suggestions. She also had test Zoom calls to make sure everything would go smoothly on the day as it was an online session." - Kennedy Park NS, Wexford

Additional Information

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

Contact Details

086 376 8204