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Learning Without Walls
Reconnecting children, teachers and families with nature
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A partnership between NIFSA and the Dufferin Foundation at Clandeboye
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About the Dufferin Foundation

Brian Poots
Lady Dufferin with Chair of the Irish Forest School Association, Joan Whelan and Brian Poots, CEO of NIFSA

Lady Dufferin has been patron of the Northern Ireland Forest School Association since 2016.

She owns Clandeboye Estate which nestles in 2,000 acres of land in North Down. It has a working dairy farm and Yoghurt Company. There are over 1,000 acres of broadleaved woodland, making it one of the largest native woodlands in Ireland.

Lady Dufferin has always been passionate about education, the environment and the arts and has been a huge supporter of them all over the years. She supports all of these worthy causes through her charitable Trust - The Dufferin Foundation.

TCV or Conservation Volunteers have an established tree nursery on the Estate. Here they have staff and volunteers growing over 100,000 native trees every year.

Lady Dufferin was also instrumental in getting the Woodland Trust to operate in Northern Ireland. Now the Woodland Trust have over 53 publically accessible native woodlands covering over 1,000 acres.

Brian Poots
Dendron Lodge residential accommodation at Clandeboye Estate.

Lady Dufferin's vision is to see Clandeboye Estate being used as a vibrant and inspirational centre of excellence for learning. Children, students, teachers, academics will be able to use Clandeboye Estate to become inspired and reconnected again to our natural world. Particular emphasis will also be placed on Shared Education. Communities from different backgrounds will learn and play together at Clandeboye. This experience will breakdown any preconceptions or prejudices children may have of others from different cultural backgrounds and help to forge a more tolerant and respectful society in Northern Ireland.

All of this activity comes under the umbrella of the "Learning Without Walls" initiative.