Project Ella

Project ELLA is a new and innovative environmental awareness project designed and delivered by our Neighbourhood Environment Team.

The Project will deliver in the four key areas of Environment, Learning, Lifestyle, and Action.

Primarily a school's-based programme, ELLA offers pupils the opportunity to learn about the importance of environmental protection and the role of residents to improve and enhance our Borough by way of positive environmental action and behaviour.

A programme of both classroom and fieldwork-based activities will encourage our younger residents to hopefully understand the importance of our beautiful landscape, and the need to ensure that more sustainable lifestyle options become more prevalent.

Project ELLA will deliver innovative and hands-on learning experiences. This includes rock pooling to studying the myriad of marine life that we have or helping uncover the history and development of our landscape through the millennia with both geological and archaeological specimens.

Many aspects of the Project are also of interest and relevance to the wider community such as beach cleaning. As the project develops, we aim to expand its reach by engaging and delivering with as many residents as we can. Project ELLA will help educate and hopefully inspire our young citizens to be better informed and more environmentally aware

Details for each of the activities/projects can be found in the drop-down boxes below.

To book an activity or for more information please email 

Project Ella in the Community 

We want to engage with as many of our residents as possible and will endeavour to do so by offering a range of activities that support the key principles of Project ELLA.

The strength of any society lies in its community, and we hope to harness this by supporting a wide and diverse range of opportunities for community partnerships as well as opportunities for individuals to be more actively involved in environmental education and protection.

There are well-established links between the environment and physical and mental well-being - increased physical activity, reduced air pollution, connection with nature, growing and eating fresh food, and making homes warmer and healthier. We also know that taking part in environmental action can create a range of tangible personal benefits - from saving money, reducing waste and gaining new knowledge and skills, to a greater sense of belonging and connection, and of course, reducing CO2 emissions.

We recognise that communities face challenges and barriers to tackling a huge global problem through local action, but we believe ‘think global, act local’ still has meaning and resonance. People and communities can and do make a difference through their actions and choices.

So how can we help…

Litter Picks and Clean Ups

Get hands-on and a little bit dirty.

Is there an area near you that is badly littered or a stretch of beach that you want to help clean up? Then this could be for you.

Council can arrange the loan of litter pickers to collect the gathered material. Everyone is aware of the dangers of marine plastic and this kind of activity can massively help by keeping our beaches as well as any other area clear of litter.

So, if you or your community have an area that badly needs to be cleaned up, then simply contact us and we can endeavour to help. We are fortunate to have many groups within the Ards and North Down area who undertake a tremendous amount of work that benefits the local environment and if we can encourage many more it would be great.

Council Help and Support

Many different Council departments have roles and responsibilities when it comes to the environment and below is just a taste of what is available within the community context.


The Climate crisis is very real, and everyone needs to do their bit to try and mitigate this looming environmental disaster.

If you have an idea for your local area then contact the biodiversity section of the Council, they would love to hear from you.

We need more gardens and open areas to be pollinator friendly as well as increasing our coverage of native tree species, so keep an eye on this page for updates and information on what you can do to help.

Tree Planting

Living in the most tree-depleted region of Europe it is patently obvious that we need to plant more trees. In these times of unprecedented climate change the more we can do to offset CO2 emissions the better it will be for all of us.

The Council’s Parks team are already undertaking many tree-planting initiatives both as part of regional campaigns and for more local projects. So again, if you have an idea or would like to take part then simply contact the Biodiversity and Parks team.


View more details via our online publication 

Project Activities

Cry of the Wolf

Taking you on a 10,000-year natural history journey of our area all through the eyes of a wolf. Gain an understanding of human impacts and mindsets and how this shaped our ancestor’s views of the landscape and the grey wolf.

The presentation perfectly highlights the need to be more in tune with the world around us and why a healthy sustainable environment is critical for all of us. We also have several artefacts and specimens to show groups as an aid to improve learning.

Learning Objectives and Outcomes

  • Teaching pupils to understand change over time
  • Making connections between the past and present
  • Understanding human impacts on the environment
Anti-Litter Presentation

This PowerPoint activity revolves around the problems associated with litter mainly at a local level.

The presentation explores the increasing present-day need to protect and conserve the local environment from litter and other forms of pollution. Particular emphasis is given to the issues with plastic waste and its effect on the marine and coastal environment.

 Active participation is sought from the pupils on the issues involved.

Learning Objectives and Outcomes

  • Understanding how human actions impact the environment
  • Identifying negative impacts and suggesting a change
  • Contributing to society in a positive way
Beach Cleans, Scavenger Hunts and Rockpooling

Pop along to one of our beautiful beaches and engage in a range of activities that highlight firstly what wonderful biodiversity we have in these coastal and marine areas, and secondly why the threat of marine-based plastic and other litter is so harmful to wildlife.

We provide everything required, litter pickers, worksheets and experts on hand to deliver this wonderful educational, not to mention, therapeutic, activity.

All three activities can be combined or provided individually depending on the school or group requirements.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives

  • Understanding human impacts on the local environment
  • Working as part of a team
  • Identifying and understanding ecosystems
  • Identifying marine mini beasts
  • Task setting and completion
Around the Borough in 500 million years

A practical, classroom-based activity where pupils can gain an understanding of the geology and landscape processes that shaped our local area.

We will look at rock and archaeological samples from the Ards and North Down area and attempt to build a 500-million-year chronology. This activity helps develop an understanding of the precious nature of our landscape and environment, its great age, and the urgent need to protect it. We will also discuss what we as members of society and residents can do to improve things.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives

  • Encouraging pupils to explore the possibilities of the future, inspired by the past
  • Making connections between the past and the future
  • How change is a feature of the human and natural world
  • Draw conclusions by examining different artefacts
Environmental Debating Forum

Held in either the Council Chamber in either Ards or Bangor this activity allows pupils to debate an issue of environmental concern and to vote accordingly.

Pupils can have the opportunity to become Councillors for the day and gain an insight into the importance of Local Government and how the Council is run, and decisions made. Topics are agreed upon and developed in the classroom in advance with several speakers for and against a particular motion.

If it can be arranged pupils may even get to meet the real-life mayor of Ards and North Down.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives

  • Improving English and verbal reasoning
  • Participating in formal and informal debates on environmental issues
  • Discussing topics where disagreement exists, responding to instructions and clarifying views on the environment
The Really Rubbish Quiz

To make this happen we need two things, the use of a hall or room and a bunch of enthusiastic pupils.

Who can make it to the end of the quiz that’s all about litter and waste?  Get a question right and you stay in the game, get it wrong and you are out! Small prizes are available for the winner. This is a brilliant, fun interactive quiz for everyone with the bonus of some ‘banging tunes’ as the battle commences.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives

  • Improving logic and reasoning skills
  • Process information and make informed choices
  • Work as part of a team
  • Understand human impacts on the environment
Sea Trout Conservation Project

An amazing opportunity for 2 lucky classes to be involved in a practical conservation project.

We will supply small fridges and a quantity of young sea trout which are kept in the classroom until the fish are of a size to be released by the pupils into a suitable local stream or river.

An outstanding project where we will learn about biological life cycles and why the conservation of many species is so important. This will be delivered by Neighbourhood Environment Officers with appropriate licenses and experience.  Better get in early for this one!

As there is a seasonal aspect to this activity, please contact us for further information.

Learning Outcomes 

  • Positive change and how we have a responsibility to make an active contribution
  • Understanding biological lifecycles
  • Demonstrating group and team working skills
  • Contributing positively to the environment
  • Developing conservation skills and understanding the importance of the natural world