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Leading Environmental Educators Visit the Burren

Burren County Clare

Landscape charity, the Burrenbeo Trust, will host some of America’s and Europe’s leading thinkers and practitioners specialising in place-based learning from August 22nd – 24th 2012 in Kinvara, Co. Galway. Titled ‘From Apathy to Empathy – Reconnecting People and Place’ this unique symposium was launched by the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn TD in June, and has come a key time in Ireland’s need to re-focus on its sense of place.

Place-based learning encourages the use of the local environment as a learning resource. It immerses individuals in local heritage, culture and landscape, encouraging them to become more aware of their place. With over 20 talks and interactive sessions, this symposium will have something for everyone. Leading experts from the States, David Sobel (author, practitioner) and Prof David Orr (author, lecturer), and the UKs Gordon McKellan (Creeping Toad) and Tony Kendle (Eden Project) will be joined by our own place based educators such as John Feehan, Michael Gibbons, Katy Egan, Nessa Collins and many more as they participate in workshops and on-site demonstrations as well as guided walks and cultural events. Participants will be immersed in one of the nation’s most inspiring places and challenged to engage fully with this place and the issues that impact on them, learning lessons and techniques which can be adapted to their own place and its needs.

A spokesperson from Burrenbeo said ‘this is an exciting time for learning in Ireland, a time to get back to basics and focus on what is truly important. The Burren is an incredible place to experience some or all of the various aspects that go into creating a ‘sense of place’. Here we have a readily accessible range of cultural and natural heritage attributes – a wonderful ‘outdoor classroom. Ireland’s most perfect environment for place based learning and a landscape that truly supports us as we create a vision for our future.

The Learning Landscape Symposium will feature a combination of keynote lectures at the Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan, themed workshops in venues across the beautiful village of Kinvara and site based workshops in the stunning Burren landscape. Areas that will be explored during the event include: what are the benefits, for people and places, of place-based learning? What is best practice worldwide in engaging and inspiring people with regard to their place? And how can the Burren, Ireland’s ultimate outdoor classroom, be better utilised and developed as a learning landscape?
This exciting event is open to everyone but booking in advance is essential. Further details on www.burrenbeo.com. The symposium costs €150 with discounts for Burrenbeo Trust members.

The symposium has been supported by the Heritage Council.