Coillte Consultation Opportunity


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 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 online
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.

Tenders invited to assist us in a review process

The main objective of the work is to facilitate a review process that will support the Irish Forest School Association (IFSA) committee to draw together an agreed vision and mission statement.

It is envisaged that this process will provide the committee with a supported reflective space to facilitate these practical outcomes as the organisation moves into the next important phase of its development. This will also include a final agreed report including clear agreed decisions and any actions/tasks that emerge.

Timescale, budget and reporting requirements:


August 7th Time: 10.30 – 2.30pm.


Kilkenny County Childcare Committee, Kilkenny Education Centre, Kilkenny.


The successful applicant will need to produce a report to be completed and submitted to the chairperson by 24th Aug. The budget for this will be no more than €300 inclusive of Vat. Experience of facilitating similar processes is required and an affinity with IFSA’s principles would be advantageous.

See the Irish Forest School Association Website:

Proposals by email to Joan Whelan, Chairperson by Fri July 13th. Email:

Download as a PDF. Irish Forest School Association July 2018

Annual conference and AGM 2018

Annual conference and AGM 2018

21/22 April 2018
Brigit’s Garden, Galway


Booking for our Annual Conference and AGM in Brigit’s Garden Galway is now open at this link.
For those who booked and paid for a place at our cancelled Autumn Gathering, we would ask you to complete a new booking form as well here. Please click the membership option (at a special rate of €30) so that your membership is valid for 2018/19. If we do not receive your new form by 10th March, we will presume that you are not coming along and will release your place to others.

The theme is Storytelling and Forest School and we are delighted to welcome Chris Holland, Lucy O Hagan, Sally O DonnellLaura Kennedy,Whole Land and Wondering Wild and our hosts in Galway, Carol Barrett and Kerry Walker as well as some other familiar faces. A detailed programme will shortly be up on our website.

Bookings are not confirmed until payment is made to the following account:
BIC: BOFIIE2D IBAN – IE10BOFI90671867489058
Account name: Irish Forest School Association
Sort code: Bank of Ireland 90-67-18
NB: Reference your name/membership number (if known) and organisation with your bank transfer. 
Once you have booked and paid, you will receive a confirmation email and further details. Do not hesitate to email if you have any queries. We look forward to meeting you in April as we continue the Irish Forest School journey.

Learn more

Annual conference and AGM 2018 Update

21/22 April 2018
Brigit’s Garden, Galway


Thanks to all of you who have booked to  come along to our conference on 21/22 April in Brigit’s Garden, Galway – we are now sold out! Please email Mirjam at if you have any questions.
 Download a  draft programme here
Bookings are not confirmed until payment is made to the following account:
BIC: BOFIIE2D IBAN – IE10BOFI90671867489058
Account name: Irish Forest School Association
Sort code:Bank of Ireland 90-67-18
NB: Reference your name/membership number (if known) and organisation  with your bank transfer. 
We look forward to meeting you in April  as we continue the Irish Forest School journey.


Membership for 2018/19 also falls due in May. We would encourage all members to become part of our Facebook group and to keep an eye on the website and the Facebook page for news!

Learn more

IFSA website Conference 2017 – Conversation Cafe feedback

The feedback from the conversation cafe question ‘What can IFSA do to support you in your forest school journey?’ has thrown out several main themes. These include: Insurance, Land Access, Garda Vetting, Awareness Raising & FS Practitioner Visability, Professionalism, Training, Networking & Practitioner Supports, Website and associated resource development, and Advocacy/Interagency Working.

More details can be found here.




1. Chairperson’s report

2. Financial report

3. Feedback from Conversation Cafe

4. Election of new committee

5. Evaluation and close of meeting

1.Chairperson’s report – Joan

Key points:

Joan opened by noting that the IFSA wanted to be an ethically sound and transparent organisation. Our mission is twofold: For the IFSA to be the ‘go to place’ for both the public and the forest school community in Ireland to learn about Forest School and secondly to promote quality Forest School in Ireland.

The gathering at Sli na Bande was mentioned as 1 year ago, from this meeting, emerged the acorn group and association name. Ciara and Jenny acknowledged and thanked for the steps they made to get the IFSA started. In Castlecomer in October 2016, we agreed to a model of Forest School going forward based on the six principles adopted by the FSA in the UK.

Thanks given to Ranelagh multi-denominational School, The Irish National Heritage Park, Kilkenny City and County Childcare Committee and to Castlecomer Discovery Park for sponsoring our meetings and events this year.

Acknowledgements given to Claire, Majella, Maura, Sally and Veronica for their contribution to the committee over the year. .

The IFSA has had meetings with Brian Poots, NIFSA, Gareth Davies, FSA and Isabell Smyth, The Heritage Council. The Heritage Council have given grant funding to the association. Their support gratefully acknowledged.

Joan has been talking to Kidd insurance and the association hopes to develop a relationship with them and other insurers. Garda vetting was mentioned.

We envisage the structure of the IFSA as a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. IFSA has opened a bank account.

Thanks were given to Roisin O Flaherty for her design of logo and her very reasonable costing. Website, social media, facebook were all set up and will be a priority for further development over the next year.

The committee has developed policies on social media and financial practice.

The IFSA will aim to have two main meetings a year, one for CPD sharing in October and the annual open conference in May.

IFSA is developing a relationship with Leave No Trace Ireland.

Joan mentioned our disappointment that The Compass Club closed.

Issues regarding access to public land and county council park is in progress. We look forward to developing our relationship with Coillte, The Tree Council and local authorities and private landowners over the coming years.

Joan has presented to the DCU outdoor learning group and attended the RDS – STEM education conference in November 2016 on behalf of the IFSA.


2. Financial Report – Caroline

€451 starting point for the IFSA bank account. Caroline acknowledged contributions and noted that the balance was €4784: however, conference expenses will be taken out of this. The development of the website and social media platforms will be a substantial cost in the coming year.


3. Feedback from conversation café – Mirjam

Mirjam said that she would be in contact by email regarding feedback from conversation café. Joan thanked Mirjam for all her hard work emailing, administration and organizing for the conference. All agreed.

The committee will be looking at the benefits of IFSA membership, why it is of value and to increase numbers. Feedback on the website was also encouraged.


4. Election of new committee

Committee put themselves forward again and Joan as chairperson was agreed. She asked for 2 more people for committee positions.
Nicola Salmon put her name forward for committee and was seconded by Gretta.
Sally O’Donnell put herself forward for committee and was seconded by Orla.


5. Evaluation

Joan reminding all to fill in evaluation forms and asked that members give any further feedback be email.


6. Close of meeting

IFSA would be looking to the West/ NorthWest for possibility next CPD meeting. Ciara thanked Joan for all her hard work.


Meeting closed at 12.30pm