Sonairte The National Ecology Centre
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The Ninch, Laytown, Meath, Republic of Ireland
Sonairte is an interactive visitor centre promoting ecological awareness and sustainable living situated in Laytown, County Meath. Its 10 acre site hosts an organic garden, nature trail, river walk, cafe, shop and information centre.
Sonairte was established in 1986 by members of the local community and concerned environmentalists to promote environmental awareness and education. Sonairte has been certified as an organic food producer with the Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association since 1986 and has been teaching organic horticulture and providing courses in various aspects of environmental education ever since.
Sonairte is located on the banks of the River Nanny in Laytown, County Meath. It works with groups from all backgrounds, ages and abilities, from pre-schools to third level institutions, tour groups and youth groups.
They also provide facilities and programmes for the general public, community groups and interested individuals.
Their courses aim to provide information, education and practical skills on a range of topics, such as biodiversity, organic gardening and sustainable living. Their approach is holistic, and with small numbers on each course, learner focused.
Many groups such as scouts, guides and youth clubs visit Sonairte each year to experience for themselves the award winning river and nature trail where activities such as scavenger hunts and ecology orienteering activities keep everyone active.
One of their most popular programmes is the Sonairte tour which is aimed at 8-12 year olds. The day comprises of fully guided nature activities such as live capture and release of small mammals, pond dipping, scavenger hunts, bird watching, mini beast hunt and many exciting games. Activities may last from two hours to a fully packed day. Each programme can be customised to suit the group.