Monday, 13 February 2017

Forest Schools in Mid and East Antrim

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is committed to promoting our parks and open spaces as important educational and recreational resources and Forest Schools is a great way to achieve this. The number of Forest Schools in Northern Ireland is increasing and we are proud to be at the forefront of this initiative. 

This year, all the schools in the Borough had the opportunity to take part in the Forest School programme via the Forest School Awards. Three schools have now been selected to take part in the 2017 Forest Schools programme. 

Carrickfergus Central Primary School have chosen Shaftesbury Park as their site. Shaftesbury Park is a charming Victorian park in Carrickfergus town centre with plenty of mature tree specimens and is connected to Carrickfergus Mill Ponds Nature Reserve which is home to a wide range of wildlife.

Kirkinriola Primary School have chosen Ecos Nature Park as their site. Ecos Nature Park is an oasis of wildlife close to the heart of Ballymena town centre. The site is 220 acres of parkland, maturing woodland, peaceful lake, ponds, and meadows.

St Johns Primary School have chosen Cranny Falls Nature Reserve, Carnlough as their site. Cranny Falls includes a beautiful waterfall in a wooded valley and a disused limestone quarry, where there are cliffs, wetlands and grasslands.

Friday, 10 February 2017

‘Friends of' nature flock in across the Borough

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE, has revealed how pleased she is at the volume of volunteers attending at the various ‘Friends of’ meetings this year. Cllr Wales said: “We have had a fantastic turn out at our Friends Of meetings which have been running each Saturday in January.

“Our Friends Of groups are now running at Bashfordsland Wood & Oakfield Glen Carrickfergus, Ecos Nature Park Ballymena, Town Parks Larne and Carnfunnock Country Park,” she said.
Already in 2017, Mid and East Antrim’s ‘Friends Of’ volunteers have helped with bird ringing at Bashfordsland Wood & Oakfield Glen, willow coppicing at Ecos Nature Park, creating a wildlife pond at Town Parks Larne and removing snowberry, an invasive species, from Carnfunnock. Throughout the year, volunteers will continue to help with a wide range of practical tasks such as nest box building, tree planting, river cleans, invasive species removal and wildflower planting.
Our ‘Friends Of’ groups are a great opportunity to get outside in the fresh air, meet likeminded people and learn new skills, all the while protecting and improving your local green space. Volunteering can help participants to gain confidence and self-esteem and can also have health benefits as you are being active outdoors. Volunteering provides huge opportunities to enhance your CV to impress future employers or help with university applications. And of course, it can be great fun!
Upcoming Friends of meetings: Friends of Bashfordsland Wood & Oakfield Glen, Saturday 11 February, meeting at Oakfield Community Centre; Friends of Ecos Nature Park, Saturday 18 February, meeting at Outdoor Education Centre; Friends of Town Park Larne Saturday 18 February, meeting at Bankhead’s Lane and Friends of Carnfunnock, Saturday 25 February, meeting at visitor centre

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Friends of Town Park

A good turnout at the first ‘Friend of Larne Town Parks’ meeting on 21 Jan. Volunteers enjoyed an afternoon beginning work on a wildlife pond. The next meeting is Sat 18 Feb, 2pm - 4pm, meeting at Bankheads Lane.
If you’d like to get outdoors, learn a new practical skill, and meet new people, our Friends Of group could be for you!
For more information T: 028 9335 8231 E:

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Friends of Ecos Nature Park

A great turn out at the first ‘Friend of Ecos Nature Park’ meeting on 21 Jan. Volunteers enjoyed a morning coppicing willow. The next meeting is Sat 18 Feb, 10am – 12noon.
If you’d like to get outdoors, learn a new practical skill, and meet new people, our Friends Of group could be for you!
For more information T: 028 9335 8231 E:

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Ballymena joins in The Big Garden Birdwatch 2017

Participants at Council’s Big Garden Birdwatch event at The People’s ParkBallymena on Sunday 29 January spotted 35 species of birds on site! Our keen bird watchers saw some interesting species such as redwing, goldcrest and jay, and of course, garden regulars blackbird, starling and robin. This data has been submitted to the RSPB to help build a picture of garden wildlife across the UK. There is still time for you to submit your results at