Would you like to bring “Nature School” in your school?

A School Visit under the “Heritage in Schools” scheme can take place:

  • In the Classroom
  • In the school grounds (or nearby)
  • On a Field Trip in a local woodland or forest

We are based in the West of Ireland so looking forward to meeting schools in Galway, Mayo, Leitrim, Sligo, Longford, Westmeath and Roscommon but if you are from a different part of the country we can arrange a visit also.

You can find out more about us on the Heritage in Schools “Heritage Experts” listing

Making a Booking

If you decide you want to book a school visit or field trip it is important that you follow this procedure:

  1. Obtain permission from Schools Principal or Board of Management for Visit.
  2. Contact Us  to arrange details of the visit. Do you wish to book a half-day visit, full-day visit or do you wish to avail of the 5 day visit (with 5th day FREE).
  3. Plan the content of the visit with the Heritage Expert and decide what preparation must be undertaken by the expert, the teacher and the pupils prior to the visit. Will the visit take place in the classroom, the school grounds or on a Field Trip (Or a combination of these)
    • PLEASE NOTE: It is essential that you have been in contact with us to arrange the above details before you proceed to the online booking as we cannot guarantee that we will be available
  4. When the above steps have been agreed the school will need to book the visit in advance with the Heritage Council. All bookings must be made in advance of visit with the Heritage Council. Please use our online booking system. Failure to book in advance, may result in the visit not being subsidised by the Heritage Council. 
  5. The cost of the visit must be paid directly to the Heritage Expert after each visit. Travel costs are covered by the Heritage Council.
  6. A short online evaluation form must be completed after each visit.
  7. The number of children participating in a visit by a Heritage Expert should not exceed 30.
  8. The teacher must remain with the class and the Heritage Expert at all times during the visit.
  9. The  Heritage Expert is not expected to supervise pupils alone, or to visit for longer than the agreed time.
  10. If the date of visit is changed after the booking form has been submitted  please notify the Heritage Council emailing heritageinschools@heritagecouncil.ie so that all records correspond. Bookings can only be made for the current calendar year.

The Heritage in Schools Scheme

The Heritage in School Scheme encourages an awareness of the genius of the natural and cultural world amongst primary school children and engage them in a direct experience of their heritage.

The Heritage in Schools scheme makes available to primary schools a panel of 165 Heritage Experts who will visit primary schools to work directly with the pupils. You can search for an Expert by county and your area of interest. The visit by the heritage expert is part-funded by the school and the remaining costs are funded by the Heritage Council.

Educational Value

The value of the Heritage in Schools scheme is in the richness and depth of knowledge it makes available to children and teachers. The primary aim of the scheme is to encourage awareness of the genius of the natural and cultural world that surrounds us in our daily lives and engage children in a direct experience of their heritage, preferably outside the classroom where possible and appropriate. The scheme supports the stated aims and objectives of the SESE curriculum and provides an additional educational tool and resource for teachers. The ‘investigations’ provided on this website relate directly to the SESE subjects of science, history and geography.

For More Information:


What does a School Visit or Field Trip from Nature School involve?

We are all connected to nature regardless of whether we realise we are or not, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat all came from nature.

The aim of our visit is not so much to help us reconnect with nature as to rediscover the many ways that we are already connected with nature and how we can grow and learn through that connection

Nature is all around us. In our school grounds, in our gardens and in the school grounds. Within a short walk or bus trip from our school, there are so many places to discover. In the past, our ancestors people used materials from nature in their locality to live. Food, medicine, tools and even building materials were sourced from the local environment. A visit from Nature School will give students the opportunity to look at, examine  and even use everyday objects and tools that have been produced from  the locality, many from our own native woodlands. On a Field Trip or nature walk, we will explore and discover what can be produced from nature. We can also look at how we can use the outdoors environment as a place to “Learn Naturally” and encourage schools to use their school grounds and local woodlands or forests as an “outdoor classroom”. Nature like our creativity is an unlimited resource so what we want most is to create an fun learning experience for students and teachers so we are happy to discuss how best to do this with the class teacher beforehand taking student’s interests ages and abilities into account.

What are the benefit of students going outdoors?

10 reasons to take your class outdoors  READ HERE

What if it rains?

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing” We encourage students to bring appropriate clothing, raincoat, Wellington boots and pull-ups if they are going outdoors  and it may rain and to consider bringing a change of clothing. Going outdoors in rain can in itself be a wonderful learning experience. Likewise if the day is very sunny we would encourage students to take measures to protect themselves from the effects of the sun In the case of a storm, it is always advisable not to venture into forest because of the risk of falling trees, branches. While we would encourage classes to use the outdoors whenever possible, we are of course aware that some students, teachers or parents might have some concerns. Any of the activities that we do with schools can be carried out indoor or outdoors. If you are a parent or teacher and want to book Bernard or Zane for a Heritage in Schools visit or if you want to find out more the scheme please give us a call (094)9067080 or CONTACT US

About Us

Bernard and Zane live near Castlebar in Co. Mayo with there three children. For more than a decade now they have embarked on an ambitious project to restore an area of ancient hazel woodland and create a new native woodland on the family farm. The project started back in 2001 when the site was chosen by the Forest Service to pilot the proposed Native Woodland Scheme and so became one of the first woodlands in the country under the new scheme. One of the objectives of there project is to create an awareness of the important role that Ireland’s Native Woodlands play in enhancing biodiversity, protecting our rivers and lakes and providing a safe home to may of our endangered species. Over the past few years we have been delighted to welcome children from our local school, scouting organisations and adults to come and play and learn in our woodlands. Ireland has such a wealth of wonderful unspoilt  natural outdoor areas on our doorsteps that are just waiting to be discovered and explored. We look forward to being part of that adventure through the “Heritage in School’s” scheme.

Bernard Joyce

Bernard earned a Bachelor of Science in Rural Development with NUI Galway in 2008 with a thesis on the socio-economic benefits of the native woodland scheme.

In 2012 he participated in a course in Environmental Education – “Taking the Classroom Outdoors” in Sweden with other teachers from across Europe and is presently training to become a fully qualified  “Forest School” Practitioner.

Bernard worked part-time as Music Therapy Teacher in St. Brids Special NS, Castlebar and was the Mayo Co-ordinator of the 2010 “Peace Proms” when over 1,000 Mayo Primary schoolchildren performed on stage with a full orchestra made up if young people from across communities in Northern Ireland and the border counties.

Member of the Teaching Council of Ireland.

Past President of Westport Toastmasters.

Bernard is a coach with Ballyvary Hurling  and Camogie Club, plays traditional Irish music, is a member of Castlebar Gospel Choir and recently sang in the Chorus of Handel’s Messiah in support of Mayo / Roscommon Hospice

Get in Touch

Telephone: +353(94)9067080 (Office) / +353(87)2254698 (Mobile) / Skype: NewParadigms /Twitter: @natureschool

Contact Form:[easy_contact_forms fid=5]

Zane Kazotniece-Joyce

Zane grew up in the Latvian countryside with the wonderful experience of walking to schools through the forest every day. Having lived in Sweden for a number of years, she moved to Ireland in 2000.

Zane has worked asfor over 10 years in Horkan’s Garden & Lifestyle Centre near Turlough.

Zane is presently employed part-time as a music tutor with the Mayo Music Generation Programme, working with preschools across the county and at the Ballinrobe Music Tuition Centre.

Member of Cór Mhaigheo choir and has participated in concerts and choral festivals in Ireland and abroad.

In 1998 she participated in “Living in the Wilderness” training in Finland.

She was a Leader with Castlebar First Mayo Scouts

How Much does a Visit / Field Trip Cost?

Full Day

Cost to school
100/5 - 5½ hrs
  • Balance of Fee paid by Heritage Council

  • If you wish to book, please call (094)9067080 OR

  • Contact us via the link below

Contact Us

Half Day

Cost to School
60/2½ to 3 hrs
  • Balance of Fee paid by Heritage Council

  • If you wish to book, please call (094)9067080 OR

  • Contact us via the link below

Contact Us

Full Day (DEIS)

Cost to School
60/5 - 5½ hrs
  • Balance of Fee paid by Heritage Council

  • If you wish to book, please call (094)9067080 OR

  • Contact us via the link below

Contact US

Half Day (DEIS)

Cost to School
40/2½ to 3 hrs
  • Balance of Fee paid by Heritage Council

  • If you wish to book, please call (094)9067080 OR

  • Contact us via the link below

Contact US
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