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Nature Rangers
The after-school programme for Learning Without Walls
Forest School Awards logo
A partnership between NIFSA and the Dufferin Foundation at Clandeboye
Dendron Lodge - Clandeboye

What are Nature Rangers?

Nature Rangers are after-schools Programmes delivered in your local area. We work in partnership with local Nurseries and Primary Schools. Primary School children are picked up from their school at the end of the school day by our Nature Rangers Team. They are brought to the Nature Ranger Centre and here they change into their outdoor clothing. With our team of qualified and experienced staff, the children spend the afternoon exploring their natural environment, making new friends, playing and benefitting, both mentally and physically, from being outside in the fresh air.

Dendron Lodge - Clandeboye
Lady Dufferin founded the first Nature Ranger Programme in Clandeboye Estate, Bangor in 2018.
Clandeboye is most famous for the legacy of the 1st Marquess (1826-1902), who laid out the historic parklands under the guidance of James Frazer. The project was so extensive that the estate still boasts the largest area of broadleaved woodland in Northern Ireland. To honour the inspiration of the 1st Marquess, the Dufferin Foundation now acts as a focus for environmental projects throughout Northern Ireland and works closely with TCV formerly Conservation Volunteers NI. Lady Dufferin resides in Clandeboye House and is a keen painter with a passion for conservation. In 1975 Lady Dufferin was responsible for encouraging Conservation Volunteers to set up their Northern Ireland base within the estate. The Conservation Volunteers continue to be associated with Clandeboye Estate and are making a difference in local communities throughout the province

Our History

The first Nature Ranger Programme was set up at Clandeboye in 2018 by Northern Ireland Forest School Association (NIFSA) and is supported by the Dufferin Foundation. NIFSA was set up 2008 as an independent charity in Northern Ireland and its aim is to promote the Forest School ethos to educational establishments and like-minded organisations throughout the country.

Our Ethos

The ethos of Forest School is based on a fundamental respect for children and young people and for their capacity to instigate, test and maintain curiosity in the world around them. It believes in children's right to play; the right to access the outdoors (and in particular a woodland environment); the right to access risk and the vibrant reality of the natural world; and the right to experience a healthy range of emotions, through all the challenges of social interaction, to build a resilience that will enable continued and creative engagement with their peers and their potential.

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Not for Profit

Nature Rangers are delivered and managed by the Northern Ireland Forest School Association (NIFSA). NIFSA is a not-for-profit organisation. All money received by NIFSA is used to train more Forest Schools in the local area and support existing Forest Schools.

Registered by Social Services

Dendron Lodge - Clandeboye

Nature Rangers are registered by the local Social Services agency. This ensures all staff are fully trained and experienced and policies, practices and procedures are to the highest standard. This gives parents the confidence to know their children are safe and in the best possible environment.