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Project 15: Lough Erne Amateur Naturalists

This project will develop a citizen science forum bringing together environmental NGO’s and the Western Education Authority (WEA) to develop a structured science activity programme for young people.

Project 15: Lough Erne Amateur Naturalists

This LELP education project will focus on data collection and citizen science opportunities for both Primary and Secondary pupils. It will be supported by physical resources for schools, online lesson plans and activities, and interactive workshops, all of which are currently being developed.

Additionally it will develop an Education Forum which includes teachers, educators and organisations/individuals with an output in natural heritage in Co. Fermanagh.

This project aims to create legacy of pupils who are confident about their natural environment and can help to conduct data science to learn more about their environment or support its conservation.

This project commenced in Spring 2021 with the employment of a full time Environmental Education Officer.

For more information contact Tony Smith, call: 07568103496 or email:

Project Updates

Education Without Walls – June 2023

We are thrilled to share the exciting news about the successful launch of Education Without Walls, the Co. Fermanagh-based education portal by the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership (LELP). On Thursday, 8th of June 2023, a remarkable gathering took place, bringing together teachers, natural heritage education providers, and representatives from the Department of Education.

Education Without Walls is a truly unique learning platform that encourages educators to break down the barriers of traditional classrooms and embrace outdoor learning. It aligns with the National Curriculum, while specifically focusing on the fascinating species and habitats found in Co. Fermanagh.

You can access this valuable resource at, where you will find a comprehensive collection of 54 structured lesson plans, accompanied by a wealth of supporting activities and educational resources from our natural heritage education partners. The content is thoughtfully categorized into age ranges, spanning Key Stages 1, 2, and 3. It is important to note that Education Without Walls is freely available to everyone, including teachers, education providers, parents, and community groups.

These lesson plans and resources have been developed by Tony Smith, the LELP Environmental Education Officer. The primary aim is to foster a deep connection between learners and their local environment, nurturing a new generation of passionate young naturalists who will cherish and protect our unique Fermanagh landscape, biodiversity, and wildlife.

We would also like to acknowledge the valuable contributions from various organizations and groups that have collaborated with LELP to provide additional content and access to a wider range of learning materials. Now, educators can find all these resources conveniently in one place. Furthermore, we are excited to mention that, in addition to the online platform, physical educational resources can be accessed through the LELP Community Hub and Equipment Library. These combined offerings will make it easier than ever for teachers and educators to deliver outdoor natural heritage education to children in Fermanagh.

Education Without Walls is an ever-evolving project, and we warmly invite anyone who has additional resources or lesson plans to contribute to the platform. Please send them to We deeply appreciate the support and funding received from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs, without which this remarkable resource would not have been possible.



John Muir Awards Ceremony

Check out these photos from our celebration evening for those who took part in the John Muir Awards. Young people from across the county have been commended on their dedication to the conservation of the local Fermanagh environment after completing the John Muir Award scheme through the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership (LELP).

LELP is the first organisation in Fermanagh to be accredited as a provider for the John Muir Award scheme. The award encourages awareness and responsibility for the natural environment through a structured yet adaptable scheme, in a spirit of fun, adventure and exploration.

LELP, in partnership with the National Trust (Crom Estate) and Extern Group (Erne Youth Support) has been delivering two bespoke schemes over the past few months with 30 young people from around Co. Fermanagh to complete their John Muir Award.

Two locations were used for these inaugural schemes, one being the Crom Estate outside Lisnaskea and the other Lough Avilly, near Enniskillen. The schemes were delivered through funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Hope for Youth NI and the DAERA Environmental Challenge Fund and in partnership with several local organisations including the Belleek Men’s Shed and the Erne Paddlers.

The first of these John Muir Award events was held over five days at Lough Avilly where nine young people from Extern’s Group (Erne Youth Support), with the support of their leaders, took part in a range of environmental activities from tree planting, invasive species removal, building bird and bat boxes and learning about waste and its effects on the environment.

The second scheme was held at Crom Estate with 21 young people and eight leaders from three different Scout groups taking part. These young people and their leaders carried out a range of important biodiversity and sustainability activities from removing Brash and clearing the litter on land and in water. They also completed their Leave No Trace Certified Awareness course. The young people also learnt about the rich wildlife and habitats that Crom has to offer.

On Saturday, May 20, LELP hosted a celebration event for the two groups of young people, commending their dedication to the conservation of the local Fermanagh environment. Throughout this project, these young people have learned the importance of Biodiversity and how it allows us to live healthy and happy lives. In return, they have been able to give nature a helping hand.

As part of the celebration event, the young people spent the morning at Share Discovery Village in Lisnaskea trying out various water activities and exploring the beautiful surrounds of Lough Erne. They were then treated to a lunch at Crom Estate, receiving a personal message of congratulations via video message by Dara McAnulty, the award-winning author and naturalist who grew up in Fermanagh.

Every participant received their John Muir certificate as well as a backpack filled with resources that will enable them to continue to discover the landscapes of Lough Erne.

Elmarie Swanepoel, Programme Manager for the Lough Erne Landscape stated: “We are very pleased to have been accredited as a formal provider of the John Muir Awards scheme. This scheme will enable us to work with many groups of young people in the future to offer quality environmental award schemes that is inclusive, accessible, non-competitive and challenging.”

During the celebrations, Nikki McVeigh, Committee Member of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Northern Ireland who provided funding for the project stated: “We are delighted to support this inspiring group of young people to achieve their John Muir Award certificates. Thanks to National Lottery players, the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership provided the opportunity for young people to not only learn about the outstanding natural heritage of Lough Erne, but to become truly involved in it and make a difference.”

Chrissie Pendry, Committee Member Hope for Youth in Northern Ireland, also stated: “It’s incredibly exciting to see our local Fermanagh youth being offered the opportunities delivered by this amazing team at Lough Erne [Landscape] Partnership who devise such relevant and valuable projects. What a fantastic opportunity to achieve this prestigious award.”

Tony Smith, Environmental Education officer for LELP added: “It is obvious that the John Muir Award Scheme promoted personal development and skill building in these young people. They got a chance to learn about the local environment, habitats, and biodiversity. All this whilst strengthening friendships and making a difference to nature.”


John Muir Awards – February 2023
Over the past 2 months LELP has been supporting two groups of young people to help them achieve their John Muir Award.
The #JohnMuirAward is an environmental award scheme focused on wild places. It is inclusive, accessible and non-competitive, though should challenge each participant. The Award encourages awareness and responsibility for the natural environment through a structured yet adaptable scheme, in a spirit of fun, adventure and exploration.
Both groups have taken part in a range of activities from building bird boxes, removing invasive pond weed, litter picks, Leave no Trace Awareness training, learning about Biodiversity and also learning about Fermanagh’s wild Mammals, birds and amphibians.
Each group had to complete 25+ hours in each of their wild places and more so make a difference in these places.
Thank you to Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and Hope for Youth NI for helping fund this project, and our thanks is extended to Extern Charity for being involved, as well as Belleek Mens Shed for helping us with providing bird boxes and National Trust Fermanagh for hosting us at Crom Estate.
School Visits for Outdoor Learning.


Over a 5-month period our Education officer engaged with 15 Key Stage 1 and 15 Key Stage 2 schools each receiving 6 sessions each. Over all 2,301 young people took part in the sessions with 289 teachers and Classroom assistants also present.


Teacher Training January-March 2023

Over the past 3 months , the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership organised a remarkable event as part of their Young Amateur Naturalists Project. 8 teacher training sessions were held, with the objective of fostering citizen science activities across various Key Stages in schools.

The training took place at Smith’s Strand in Lisnaskea, Ely Lodge, Willowbridge School and Florencecourt Primary School and was facilitated by Tim from Field Studies Ireland and Tony  our own Environmental Education Office . It provided a valuable opportunity for 80 teachers from both primary and secondary education backgrounds to immerse themselves in outdoor delivery techniques and gain knowledge about environmental and biodiversity activities that can be incorporated in diverse settings.


Education Forum for Partners – November 2021

The Lough Erne Landscape Partnership hosted an Education Forum on Tuesday 30th November 2021 for partner.

This forum was aimed at those organisations and individual groups who have responsibility and involvement in the delivery of natural heritage education in the region. The Lough Erne Landscape Partnership, supported through funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and DAERA Challenge Fund, are currently delivering the Lough Erne Education Programme. This programme focuses on a number of education projects being delivered by LELP and our partners and aims to bring organisations and education providers to further natural heritage education in the region.

One of the projects within this programme will deliver a citizen science education programme. The aim of the citizen science education programme is to provide teachers and educators with an online repository of resources, lesson plans and activities to teach students about the landscapes of County Fermanagh and its associated biodiversity and environments. It will also provide opportunities to complete citizen science and data recording activities.

Through this Forum LELP aim to develop an Education Network, which will bring people and natural heritage organisations together to shape and coordinate the education project.

Education Update – November 2021

Please find attached to this email the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership Education Update.

With term time rapidly ticking towards Christmas Break this short newsletter contains information about:

  • Lough Erne Schools Convention September 2021
  • Teacher Training October 2021
  • More Teacher Training Dates in 2022 and how to register
  • Upcoming grant opportunities
  • Activities for schools

Please take the time to read what has been going on through the Lough Erne Education Programme, ways to get involved and how to keep in touch!

The next phase of the Lough Erne Education Programme will involve an online resource centre and workshops for schools, and we look forward to sharing more information about these early in the new year.

LELP Education Update November 2021

Teacher Training – October 2021

Last Thursday 7th October 2021, the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership hosted two teacher training sessions as part of their Young Amateur Naturalists Project. This education project aims to develop citizen science activities across a range of different Key Stages in schools.

This training was delivered at Smith’s Strand, Lisnaskea by Field Studies Ireland and 30 teachers from both primary and secondary education backgrounds got to experience and share in knowledge about outdoor delivery, and environmental and biodiversity activities which can be conducted in a range of environments.

For more information about visit Field Studies Ireland

Fieldwork FIT Counts at Crom Estate – September 2021

On Thursday 16th September 2021, the LELP Environmental Education Officer was joined a group of enthusiastic Year 10 pupils and staff from St. Kevin’s College in Lisnaskea, at Crom Estate, to conduct FIT counts.

FIT counts are a part of the UK Wide Pollinator Monitoring Scheme which NIEA have joined to gather crucial data to analyse pollinator populations. Our pollinator populations are under threat and the UK Wide Pollinator Monitoring Scheme (PoMs) aims to gather data on insects across the UK to identify changing trends in pollinator populations.

By completing a FIT count, which is a Flower-Insect Timed Count, you count all the insects that land on target flowers within a 50cm x 50cm patch during a 10-minute period, at any location. You don’t need to worry about identifying specific species, rather identify at a group level! Plus there is a helpful app to help you. FIT Counts can be done anywhere, including gardens and parks, in warm, dry weather any time from April to September.

The pupils first developed their data collection skills and techniques by gathering insects using sweep nets and bug pots and identifying different leaves and other plants using charts, before completing the fieldwork session by completing a timed FIT count each.

Many thanks to Crom Estate and the National Trust staff team for facilitating our visit, Ms Rogers, Mr Armitage and the pupils from St. Kevin’s College, LELP and Heritage Lottery Fund NI.

DAERA Challenge Fund Award – July 2021

The Lough Erne Landscape Partnership are delighted to have received funding from the DAERA Challenge fund to extend their Key Stage 3 education programme to include Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils as well, until March 2022.

Find it in Fermanagh – July and August 2021

During July and August 2021 we are encouraging you to get outside in Fermanagh and discover a local species! From special mammals, butterflies, wildfowl and invasive species, we asked you to venture outside and find different species, and share your photographs with us.

This summer we encouraged you to find the following:

Education Forum for Teachers – June 2021

On Wednesday 16th June the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership delivered an online Education Forum.

The Lough Erne Landscape Partnership, supported through funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund are currently developing a citizen science education programme which will be delivered in schools this Autumn, starting in September 2021.

The citizen science programme will provide teachers with an online repository of resources, lesson plans, activities etc. to help teach students about the landscapes of County Fermanagh and its associated biodiversity and environments. It is envisaged that through this programme schools will have the opportunity to avail of resources and equipment to carry out the planned data collection activities.

Pollinator Workshops – June 2021

During May and June 2021 our Environmental Education Officer has delivered a number of Pollinator Workshops to schools in partnership with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s “Bee a Pollinator Hero” initiative.

These workshops aim to teach pupils about the importance of pollinators and how we can help protect and enhance their habitat.

For more information visit

Buglife Fieldwork at Crom Estate – June 2021

On Wednesday 9th June 2021, the LELP Environmental Education Officer was joined by Anna Hart from Buglife and a group of enthusiastic Year 10 pupils and staff from St. Kevin’s College in Lisnaskea, at Crom Estate, to search for elusive reed beetles.

Although the weather was a little windy and overcast for searching for the beetles, Anna carefully explained searching techniques, how to use the equipment and where reed beetles are commonly found and their preferred habitat. The pupils and staff from St. Kevin’s got stuck in immediately and it wasn’t long before a great selection of insects, moths, damson flies, beetles, spiders and snails had been collected from the rich shoreline at Crom. Furthermore, the pupils managed to find TWO different types of reed beetles! A very successful and fun morning for all involved.

Many thanks to Crom Estate and the National Trust staff team for facilitating our visit, Ms Rogers and the pupils from St. Kevin’s College, LELP and Heritage Lottery Fund NI.

LELP’s First Education Forum – October 2019

We are delighted to have held LELP’s first Education Forum as part of The Young Amatuer Naturalist Programme, bringing together different organisations who are delivering citizen science in The Lough Erne Region. We had a great morning discussing the importance of delivering natural science in the local area.