EVS experience: Biodiversity Trek at Lough Boora Parklands

   From the 19th to the 28th of May, Biodiversity was celebrated in Ireland through about 50 events forming our National Biodiversity Week. All over the country, environmental organisations offered free family-friendly events in order to regenerate the link between People and Nature as well as reminding us how much our wildlife and flora are precious and how we could – should – learn to protect them from the many threats opposed to them.  

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   On the 27th of June, two of our EVS volunteers went to Lough Boora Parklands, county Offaly, to participate in a Biodiversity Trek organised by the Irish Wildlife Trust; a conservation charity committed to raise awareness about our local natural heritage and which is in charge of numerous natural reserves; one of them being in Lough Boora Parklands.

  Kieran Flood – Conservation Officer for the Irish Wildlife Trust – was their guide for the day. During an approximately three hours walk, they learned about different types of plants, flowers and animals. They learned what a bog is, how it is formed and what wildlife can develop there.

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  They learned that common flowers like “Birds-foot trefoil” (Lotus Corniculus) are good for butterflies to lay their eggs on, that there about twenty different species of bumblebees in Ireland which hibernate during winter, that Yew trees (Taxus Baccata) are Ireland’s most ancient growing trees, that their seed is toxic and their berries are poisonous but that their evergreen property and their impressivDSC_0387e longevity (they usually can reach between 400 and 600 years of age) make them symbols of eternal life and thus are often planted in cemeteries…

 

 

 Our two volunteers were delighted to learn those facts and many more as to witness Irish biodiversity wealth by laying their eyes on wild orchids, a red squirrel, a parasite wasps’ nest…

   The Irish Wildlife Trust and GEAI are both part of the Environmental Pillar (a network of national environmental organisations in Ireland). Our volunteers were delighted to meet another Irish environmental NGO and they came back to work more enthusiastic than ever about protecting Irish Biodiversity.

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All the photographs featured in this post have been taken by our EVS volunteer
Katsiaryna Trusova

Who is on Your Back?

The game

On Wednesday 26th April, EVS volunteers leaded a biodiversity game in Youth Café Drumshanbo. The name of the game is «Who’s on Your Back?». The concept was reviewing Irish wildlife through team communication.

Rules of the game

We prepared sticky labels with the names of well-known animals on it. For instance: whale, rabbit, snake and so on. Then we stuck the labels on everyone’s back without letting them know «who they were». Each member had to find out who was on their back by asking questions to the others in the team. Questions were asked in such a way that the answers could be just «Yes» or «No». The player could ask no more than two questions then it was other’s player turn. Once they found out who they were they could play again with another animal on their backs.

The result

It was an useful game to develop children’s communication skills and attention. They were listening to each other carefully and with interest. The environmental outcome of the game  showed that children are really curious about Irish wild life and they  guessed the answers very quickly. It was great craic!

Biodiversity week: 16th-22nd May

GEAI, along with the Environmental Pillar and IEN and all the organisations involved, is celebrating the National Biodiversity Week!

This week is all about connecting people with nature. It’s about communicating the importance of biodiversity and motivating people to play their part in protecting it. It’s also about entertaining them; showing the fun and wonder that can be found in nature; and inspiring people to learn more, see more, do more.

You can explore the map and see events in your area that you can attend. They are all free and designed for different age groups.

Also, take a look at the calendar of events here.

For more information, please visit the Biodiversity Week website.

New european Study by AEA

Support to the identification of potential risks for the environment and human health arising from hydrocarbons operations involving hydraulic fracturing in Europe. EA group, a global sustainability consultancy, were contracted by EU Commission to carry out a study on the potential risks of fracking and to look at EU legislation relevant to fracking and gaps in the legislation.  They come to the conclusion that there are several high risk areas associated with fracking, including risk of contamination of ground and surface water, land use and risk to biodiversity.  Several gaps in EU legislation are described and an overview is gtiven on possible approaches to improving regulatory and industry practice.
Please click here to download the study [pdf].

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