Final Climate Action Day for Drumkeeran students at the Organic Centre

The students during the tour of the Organic Centre.

Our second Climate Action Days workshop was concluded last Tuesday in the Organic Centre. What better place to reflect on all the topics covered during the days and present the results of the work done with the TY students of the Lough Allen College. In the Organic Centre, the students had the opportunity to learn about organic farming and good practices on how to preserve our environment. And since it was very sunny and warm – even if it was just the end of February – we had a lovely day outdoors!

Phil shows how to grow plants inside a polytunnel.

The students plant seeds of kale and beetroot.

After enjoying an ice-breaker with the students just before to start the tour, we met Phil Wheal that presented us the activities of the Organic Centre and guided us through the greenhouses, crops, and orchards around. Despite most of the fields were fallow and trees still empty, we had the opportunity to see flowers around so to have the first taste of spring.

Phil explains how to put the seeds in the seedling tray.

First, we went inside a polytunnel where Phil explained to us how to produce compost and why it make naturally good soil. Then he showed us different kind of plants that they grow there and finally, he involved the students in planting seeds of kale and beetroot. After filling the seedling trays with soil, they put the seeds and then watered them and let there to grow. Maybe the students won’t see the plants grow but we are sure they did a good job!

Johanna enjoys the day at the Organic Centre.

Then Phil showed us how to merge two branches in order to graft an apple tree, and he brought us in the orchard where even if it is still winter trees started to bloom. As soon as the tour was concluded we went back to Centre, where Clare Templar was waiting for us. She was in charge of the lunch, for which she cooked nice meals with organic produce. We had baked potatoes and meat, a beans soup, and a tempting colourful salad.

Joseph explains the results of the wind energy survey.

After that, the students presented the results of their projects. There were four working groups: “The Binmen” built bins to put in the school in order to collect recyclable waste; “The Turbine Turners” carried out interviews to know local people opinions about wind turbines; “Recipes from Leftovers” proposed recipes to avoid food waste; and “It’s Ofishial” explained why we should reduce plastic to avoid oceans pollution.

The group “It’s Ofishial” after their presentation.

We were very pleased to see what the students did, and we hope it was worth for them. Now we got much more experience in working with students, so we are looking forward to involving a new school!

DOES EVERYONE IN IRELAND PLAY AN INSTRUMENT?

It has been almost a month since we, the new EVS volunteers, arrived in Leitrim to work with GEAI. This week we attended some cultural events in Carrick-on-Shannon and Ballinaglera – great experiences!

On Thursday 4th October we enjoyed a concert at The Dock Arts Centre: Caitlin and Ciaran with special guest Siobhan O Donnell! It was our first traditional Irish music concert and we were delighted to hear them playing the fiddle and concertina as well as dancing to traditional tunes.  Siobhan O Donnell was brilliant at the guitar and she charmed us with her spectacular voice.

mulveys-at-trad-weekend

On Friday 5th, the Ballinaglera Traditional Music Weekend kicked off! A great concert was held in Ballinaglera Community Hall and we enjoyed the fun between flautist Marcus Hernon, his family and amazing singer Don Stiffe. Another immersion into Irish culture!

And that was not the end! Sunday evening saw us enjoying a traditional music session in Rynn’s Pub, Ballinaglera. People gathered together singing traditional songs and reciting poems as well as playing flutes, fiddles and guitars. Does everyone in Ireland play an instrument?  After that we went to Mulvey’s Pub where we listened to Ballinaglera’s “Young Stars”, children already proficient in Irish music. It was incredible to see how involved they are with traditional music at an early age.

GEAI WINS PRIZE FOR EVS VIDEO

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Barry Gilmartin in action on Lough Allen

GEAI has won 3rd Prize in a national competition, “Pay It Forward”, to publicise 20 years of the European Voluntary Service programme.  Three young EVS volunteers, together with a young local film-maker, Barry Gilmartin, made a really excellent short video to show the world what life is like for volunteers in County Leitrim and the benefits they gained by spending  a year here.

(Link to video)

For the past four years, GEAI has hosted young European volunteers to help with our work in the campaign against fracking and on raising awareness about climate change and the challenges facing Ireland as well as the rest of the world. The scheme is funded by the EU Erasmus+ programme, which pays for travel, accommodation and food for those young people.

The EVS volunteers come from all over Europe – from Spain to Romania, from France to Bellarus – and stay in Leitrim for a year at a time.  They experience Irish rural life and culture, travel all over Ireland, make friends with local people and other European volunteers, develop their skills and improve their English language and employability.  In return, the volunteers work with GEAI to publicise issues through website, Facebook and Twitter, they help to organise campaigns and public meetings and do research on renewable energy.

“We are really delighted with our success”, said Aedín McLoughlin, GEAI Director.  “This video was very much an initiative of the volunteers themselves who got together with Barry Gilmartin from Ballinaglera to plan the whole thing.  It is a huge credit to all the young people involved who showed so clearly the benefits of the EVS scheme and I am thrilled that Barry got the recognition he deserved.”

EVS is funded by the Erasmus+ Programme

LINK TO VIDEO

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