IFSA AGM 2020

Notice of Annual General Meeting

The 2020 AGM of the Irish Forest School Association takes place on Thursday 27th August at 7pm, via Zoom. 

Agenda:
  1. Minutes of 2019 AGM
  2. Chairperson’s report – including Membership and Social Media update
  3. Financial report
  4. Ratification of ACORN until May 2021
  5. Back in the Woods – a short discussion on how it feels to return to practice
  6. Announcement of Autumn Gathering 2020

Members must register in advance.

 

ENDS

Member Update, May 2020

Dear member and friend, 

Greetings from the IFSA ACORN. We hope that you and your families are well and safe at the moment. We extend our sympathies to any of you that have experienced bereavement over the past while. 

We are conscious that for many Forest School practitioners, the continued closure of schools and services has meant that you are unable to earn a living at the busiest time of year for many of you. For the moment, we are experiencing a pandemic that has kept us physically distanced, and while connecting virtually is a lifeline for many of us, we need connection to nature now more than ever. 

The exact outcome for recommencing Forest School sessions is unclear still. We imagine it will be in line with the reopening of crèches and early years services which is proposed to commence on 20th July. See here for the most up to date details. We will update members as more information becomes available. 

What we do know is that being outdoors in nature is a plus and being in small groups is a plus and Forest School fits the bill on both scores. We know Forest School fosters resilience and provides opportunities for dealing with uncertainty and for creativity. We know the long-term nature of Forest School fits well with the kind of response we need to put in place in our education and care settings going forward. We know that Forest School leaders are well used to assessing risk – many are already use tippy taps for handwashing, for example. We know being outdoors in nature is very healing, whether that is Forest School or other nature-based activity. We know that Forest School is about fun and spontaneity and we certainly need lots of that right now. When we are allowed to be in-tune with the changing elements, to get muddy and wet, get curious about insects and wildlife, discover and explore our connection with nature and with human nature, meet new challenges and integrate experiences, we are improving our resilience, mental and physical health and feelings of joy and well-being. 

Our Response Together As we move towards re-opening, we offer some advice and opportunities to stay connected and share your creative responses to this unique challenge. 

In preparation for opening up again, we are advising people to think about ways that your Forest School setting can meet the public health requirements. Communicating well with parents how potential risk is controlled, as well as ensuring Forest School leaders and staff are protected is essential. Think about how you can manage regular handwashing, social distancing, provision of food and drinks, management of tools and equipment. Talk to your insurance provider. Check out whether your usual site is open and make contact with the owners. It may also be a good time to contact local schools and early years settings to offer your services as a Forest School leader, outlining the benefit of Forest Schools as they open up again. This link to an article about Scottish outdoor preschools may be helpful. 

We know that one positive outcome from this crisis will be more consideration of nature- based activities such as Forest School in our schools and childcare settings. We will be writing to the government and to relevant public bodies to promote Forest School as one important part of education provision going forward. We encourage you to get in touch with your local representatives as well. We will circulate a sample letter for you to adapt shortly.

The IFSA ACORN

May 2020

Coillte Consultation Opportunity

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IFSA encourages our members to respond to Coillte’s Forest Five Year Plans. It is your opportunity to engage with the ‘custodians of 7% of Ireland’s land’. The consultation period runs until Friday 1st May 2020.

See Coillte’s statement below: 

Coillte’s current BAU Strategic plans (forest five year plans) are due for review at the end of 2020.

With your help, Coillte will produce draft forest plans for the period 2021 – 2025 in the coming months. During this time we invite stakeholders to engage with us and submit their recommendations into this consultation process.

There will be 4 stages in this public consultation process as outlined below  :

Phase How it works Timeline
Phase 1 6 week public consultation when initial submissions are received March-May 2020
Phase 2 Coillte review and acknowledge all submissions received during Phase 1 May 2020
Phase 3 Draft plans formulated and published.  6 week public consultation when feedback and further submissions are received June-July 2020
Phase 4 Coillte review all stakeholder submissions to draft plan and produce final plan August-September 2020

We are inviting you to review our current plans which are available on our website (link – current plans) and submit your views and recommendations during Phase 1.  This public consultation period runs from Monday 23rd March 2020 until Friday 1st May 2020 (6 weeks). Submissions may be sent by email to consultation@coillte.ie or by post to :-

Ms Sharon Byrne, Coillte, First Floor, Block B, Marlinstown Office Park, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.

Please visit the Current Consultation (link) section of Coillte’s website to find out more about this consultation process.

Save the Date IFSA Autumn Gathering 2019

 Early Bird Booking has opened for the The Irish Forest School Association Autumn Gathering, co-hosted with the DCU Outdoor Learning Network . The theme is  ‘Forest School: Branching Out’  and will take place on the DCU All Hallows Campus on Saturday 19th October.  You can follow this link to book onlinehttps://irishforestschoolassociation.clr.events/event/128829:forest-school-branching-out
Early Bird Booking is available until the end of September. Sign-up for conference workshops and skillshare sessions is completed online as part of the booking. Preference is allocated to attendees on a first come first served basis, so we recommend early booking to ensure you can access your first choices. We invite you to choose 2 of the 4 workshops/skillshares offerings via this process. The full biographies of session leaders are detailed in the programme, along with the descriptions of all sessions.
 

Our 2019 Autumn Gathering will be held in Dublin on Saturday  19th October in DCU…more news soon

IFSA Conference & AGM 2019 – Bookings Closed

Dear friends,

Bookings are closed for  the 3rd Annual Conference and AGM of the Irish Forest School Association with the theme ‘Forest School: Rooted in Sustainability’. This will be held on the 25th & 26th of May in Fota Education Centre, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork. We are very excited to host Keynote Speaker Sara Knight who will give an address on the topic of ‘Sustainability: Discovering the world and your strong, positive place in it through immersive experiences’, alongside a vibrant array of workshop speakers, skillshare leaders and panel contributors detailed in the Conference  Programme – 
*** Please Note ***
Sign-up for conference workshops and skillshare sessions will be done in advance this year as part of the online booking system.
Preference is allocated to attendees on a first come first served basis, so we recommend early booking to ensure you can access your first choices. We invite you to choose 2 of the 4 workshops/skillshares offerings via this process. Details of workshops and skillshares are at this link: Final Workshops and Skillshare Outlines – IFSA Conference 2019.
 

IFSA Autumn Gathering – getting closer!

Bookings are open for the  IFSA & NIFSA Joint Autumn Gathering, at Clandeboye Estate, near Bangor, Co Down,  on Saturday 6th October!

IFSA Members  €45, including lunch.
Non-Members  €70, which includes lunch and membership up to May 2019

Information about the programme and workshops can be found here. Further details will issue once you have booked.

In a slight change this year, you can book and pay directly through this link: https://irishforestschoolassociation.clr.events/