Friday, 31 May 2013

Hopping around in June!

Events where you just might find this Toad over the next month
telling stories at Dove Valley Centre
Sunday June 9th
The Big Bird, Beast, Bug and Botany Hunt
When: 11.00 - 16.00
Where: Dove Valley Centre
Under Whitle Farm
(between Sheen and Longnor)
SK17 0PR

Our Ancient Landscapes project will be there among the Birds, Beasts, Bugs and Botanicals. We'll be there with fossils to look at and draw, models to handle, people to talk to, a wall to stare at (just in case we can find anything!) and our usual exciting, messy, colourful and engaging creative activities

I'll be there helping on the Landscapes stall but mostly to tell stories of farms and fields and the plants and animals and stranger inhabitants of the Dales and Moorlands

setting up for last year's Big B day

Sunday June 16th
Father's Day at Ilam Park

puppets for parents?

Father's Day BBQ and Games
When: 11.00 - 16.00
Where: Ilam Park, Postcode: DE6 2AZ. Ordnance Survey grid reference SK132507.

I'll be on the Ancient Landscapes team will be at this National Trust event at Ilam Park

Tempting as it is, we won't be "fossilizing fathers" but we may well invite you to look at some of the fossils we find in the limestone of the area, to make printed fossil cards for Dads, cast your own fossils (for anyone), make trilobite puppets and personal nautiloids….

Our activities are free but car parking charges apply. There are lots of other activities on at Ilam that day - but come and hunt us out!

ancient animal fingerpuppet

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Building networks: Burrenbeo conference 2013

The official details of this year's Burrenbeo conference are pasted in below. I was at last year's event and it was rich and delightful. Good company, a wonderful setting and lots of thought-provoking sessions. so if you fancy a trip out to the west of ireland and the spectacular limestone landscapes of the Burren in July...sign up!

Place-based Learning – building a network?
Kinvara July 18th-20th 2013.
Building on the success of the inaugural Learning Landscape Symposium Apathy to Empathyreconnecting people with place in 2012, the Burrenbeo Trust are hosting an intimate networking event this year for place-based educators, teachers, parents and anyone with an interest in place-based learning and/or learning in the Burren. 
This event aims to:
                provide a unique opportunity to network with other place-based educators from Ireland and beyond, exchange ideas and experiences
                hear from some leading practitioners both nationally and internationally
                continue the momentum from our biannual symposium in 2012 and build towards our planned 2014 event
                explore Ireland ’s ultimate learning landscape, the Burren.   

This event will feature interactive workshops in community venues in Kinvara village as well as field trips to the Burren, cultural events and much more.   It will start on the evening on the 18th, the workshops will be throughout the 19th, and there is an optional fieldtrip on the 20th.  

Workshop leaders include:
Michael Ryan (
Gordon D’Arcy
Katy Egan
Sophie Nicol
Zena Hoctor
Shane Casey
….more workshop leaders to be confirmed shortly.

Cost: €70 (€60 for OAP/Students, €55 for Burrenbeo Trust members). 
Bookings are now open by contacting and 091 638096 or downloading the attach form and sending it back.  Places are strictly limited and bookings will be on a first come first served basis. 
The full programme will be released shortly; keep an eye on for more information.
The Burren, Ireland ’s Learning Landscape - An Bhoireann, Tírdhreach Saíochta na hÉireann

Supported by the Heritage Council

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Stories on tour: Wild tales and animals

Wild tales and animals
Stories in school with Creeping Toad September 2013

celebrating the Year of Natural Scotland here are old stories, new adventures and impossible fictions about the wildlife of Scotland

From heroic mice to wrens, eagles and mysterious trees we’ll meet stories that encourage us to look with new eyes on the world around us and remember that there are stories inside the humblest of creatures and the most ordinary of plants, and that we can all have adventures too

I am Gordon MacLellan – Creeping Toad – is one of Britain’s foremost environmental art and education workers…and I tell stories as well! 

Between 2nd and 13th September, 2013 (and probably again in November), I will be working in the Highland area (at least) and is available for bookings….

A day’s visit to your school - or your nature reserve or education centre - might include 

storytelling performanceslasting up to 60 minutes for up to 90 children at a time

stories outside! using the school ground, we’ll take storymaking out of the classroom and use the immediate environment, the day’s weather and whatever we can find to inspire words, create poems and shape a set of stories never told before (allow 60 minutes for a class session)

story and book workshops: taking a bit longer (allow 90 minutes for a class) as well as discovering those stories no-one has ever heard before, now we will build those into the books that no-one has ever read before and leave the classroom with a library no-one has ever visited before!

pop-up storyscapes: allow an hour for a class: gathering ideas, images and words we’ll make quick 3-d landscapes holding the essence of a story in a setting, key characters and the words that set the adventure running

tales of old Scotland: a collection of stories of Highland folklore and Scottish histories, of heroes and sorrows, bravery and the magics of sea, mountain and moor
I rather hope this isn't one of the
heroes of old Scotland!

your own themes and ideas: or are you exploring a particular theme that you would like to involve some stories in? pirates….tropical islands….ancient cave people…..where in our school would bears live?…castle adventures,  have all featured in recent Creeping Toad projects

Charges: £250 a day: includes storyteller’s fee, travel and materials. Can be paid on the day or I can invoice you

To book: contact Gordon directly at
or by telephone: 

landline: 01298 77964
mobile: 07791 096857

sometimes new stories call for ancient animals