Who we are
Dr. Valerie Isabel Stewart BSc PhD: Valerie had worked for twenty years in community development (with the RDC and MBW) before she set up her own business in June 2014. She studied Agricultural Zoology at Queens University, and completed a doctoral thesis on the New Zealand Flatworm at the School of Applied Plant Sciences (QUB). Valerie was a Part-Time Lecturer for the Northern Regional College for the academic year 2014-’15 (teaching BTEC Level 2 Extended Certificate in Horticulture and CCEA Level 2 Occupational Studies (Horticulture)), as well as delivering Recreational Horticulture classes to community organisations involved in the BIG Lottery funded Living & Learning Together Programme.
Mrs. Hazel Allen BSc: Hazel has been a Primary School Teacher for over twenty-eight years, having studied Primary Education at the New University of Ulster. She is heavily involved in the family business Donegal Rapeseed Oil Co. both in production and administrative roles, and is also a Director in the family’s new Renewables business. Her main interest is historical gardens and their design.
Mrs. Séana Quinn BA: Séana has worked in community development (with Groundwork NI, Dungannon & South Tyrone BC and the RDC) for over thirteen years, working on environmental, youth, capital build, early years and community relations programmes. She has a BA in Hotel & Tourism Management from the University of Ulster with a Diploma in Industrial Studies and Work Based Learning. Séana also has a Postgraduate Certificate in Communicationsand an NOCN Level 3 in Working with Contentious Cultural Issues and NOCN Level 2 in Good Relations & Civic Leadership, and Conflict Management. She is a volunteer with Galbally Youth and Community Association and Canny Man Community Arts.
Dr. Gillian McCann BSc PhD: Gillian has been a Primary School Teacher for over seventeen years. She studied Applied Biology at Leicester Polytechnic, Zoology at Aberdeen University, and completed a doctoral thesis on Helix aspersa (the garden snail) at the School of Applied Plant Sciences in Queens University Belfast. Gillian completed her studies with a Postgraduate Certificate in Education at Newcastle University. Her main interest is marine and island flora and fauna, and she is a knowledgeable wild and garden plants woman.
We can provide training and educational talks at all levels and for all age groups. Here are a few examples:
Herbs: growing, using, storing – a recreational course introducing you to the history of man’s (and woman’s!) use of herbs for medicine and cooking; how to grow and care for a range of common herbs; how and when to harvest and store them, and looking at their wide number of uses today.
Soil Structure and Improvement – a technical course for allotment holders and home fruit and vegetable growers. We will discuss the variety of soil types found throughout Northern Ireland and how this structure affects the micro-fauna and flora within the soil, its drainage and fertility, and how this in turn affects what can be successfully grown in it. We will look at how to adjust the structure and pH to allow us to grow a variety of crops, and how to produce our own compost. We will also discuss the effect of cultivation and non-organic chemicals on the soil.
Pond Life – aimed at a young audience, introducing them to the wonderful array of plants, invertebrates and amphibians that live in ponds, and the birds and mammals that depend upon them too. The session will be interactive, with games, drama, and a chance to see the pond life up close. We will finish with helping the children to create their own mini-pond.
Or we can design a session or course that is tailored to your specific needs.
Project Design and Management
We can provide support at any stage of your school or community environmental or gardening project.
Design – who is the project for? What are their needs and expectations? Do you have a funder to satisfy? What is your budget? Who owns the land? Who will manage and maintain the project? What is your timescale for completion? Do you want a finished garden or one that will be added to and developed over time? When you’ve answered all these questions you can then begin to think about what plants are suitable for your location and what hard landscaping is appropriate. We can take you through this process to plan, and planning stage.
Learning from others – before you embark on your project development it is always a good idea to see what other people have done before you. You can learn from their mistakes and their triumphs. We can help you arrange visits to community gardens, allotments, nature reserves, and gardens and nurseries to inspire you in your plant and landscaping choices.
Project Management – we can work with your project committee to help you through a tendering process or recruiting and managing volunteers. We can provide guidance in completion of claims and producing press releases. We can project manage the work or provide you with a detailed plan so you can manage the project yourself.
Training: £65/ hour plus cost of materials and 40p /mile
Project Management: £300/ day plus 40p/ mile