Siri is our Climate Ambassador!

Siri Karavida, ESC volunteer at GEAI, is coming to the end of her volunteering year with us. The list of the things she managed to do while in Ireland is pretty impressive: Climate Action Days at schools, the household energy survey of Boyle, the Leitrim Cróga project (more on it soon!) and many more. However, amongst her main achievements she mentions becoming a Climate Ambassador.

What is Climate Ambassador?

The Climate Ambassador programme is a great opportunity to become a leader in your school, campus or community and to promote positive climate actions in a local context.

Climate change effects can be felt here and now, at a local, national and global scale. Becoming a Climate Ambassador gives people the opportunity and platform to do something really positive within our communities. Adapting to climate change and mitigating the adverse impacts is a growing concern in every community in Ireland.

Siri shares her experience

“My main action was delivering talks and presentations related to climate change in schools. It has been a very valuable experience, because I got the opportunity to talk about climate change to young students, who are the future active citizens and on whom the climate change will have the biggest impact. With my talks I reached about 140 people who were very engaged and interested. I faced some challenges regarding delivering the message of climate change without scaring and discouraging the students. I achieved that by finishing my talks with a positive message that there is still time and if we change our behaviour, climate change can be tackled. I was very surprised at the level of knowledge that the people already had on the issue, and the attention and engagement that they showed!”

If you are interested in becoming a Climate Ambassador, more information is available on the official website of the programme.

Alexandra Peralaika

Irish Halloween for our EVS volunteers

 

Volunteers with their Halloween pumpkin

Nino, Sarah and Siri with their Halloween pumpkin

Halloween is an important part of the Irish culture as it is an original Irish festival, marking the time when the bright summer and autumn moves into the darkness of winter. We, the EVS volunteers, were delighted to enjoy Halloween this year!

 

Over the past few weeks, we saw the shops and houses decorated with skeletons, pumpkins, spiders and their webs, bats and all the scary stuffs you can imagine.

Nightmare on Highstreet in Drumshanbo

The Haunted House in Drumshanbo

We also enjoyed decorating our home with spiders, bats, a black cat and obviously, a magnificent Halloween pumpkin proudly carved by ourselves!

 

A lot of Halloween events took place in County Leitrim and we enjoyed a Halloween party in a pub in Carrick-on-Shannon. Finally we went to the “Haunted House” in Drumshanbo during Halloween night. In the darkness of the labyrinth, people dressed up like monsters and creepy creatures emerged from nowhere, with frightening noises and screams. What a creepy experience!

Even the weather on Halloween night seemed to be in a scary mood, with fog, yellow moon and frost!

 Now we can say that we have had the creepiest and best Halloween in our lives!

 

 

EVS&GEAI Together!

GEAI in ‘Pay It Forward’ Competition

Pay it Forward concept means to respond a person’s kindness by being kind to someone else, if you get something, give something back!

This is the main idea of volunteering and also of the European Voluntary Service.

Leargas, the National Agency that deals with the Erasmus+ programmes in Ireland is celebrating 20 years of European Voluntary Service with a big competition meant to attract more organisation to host and send young people for EVS. There are prizes for the volunteers with the best ideas!

GEAI, as a hosting organisation, entered the competition with a video that we made in order to promote EVS and ourselves.

Lisandra, Cedric and Alice had the visit of Barry, a talented student in the visual arts. Together they filmed a video showing what it means to be part of EVS, what have we done during our year in Ireland and what have we learned.  Also you can also see from the point of view of the hosting organisation what it means.

We had a lot of fun filming and we now realise that it is not an easy job to be a star! It definitely was rewarding when we saw the final result. Please watch our short video below and tell us what you think.

And don’t forget, sharing is caring!

 

6th June: From Game of Thrones to the Games of Politics

6th of June was a bank holiday in Ireland, a proper way to begin the summer!

Here at GEAI the volunteers celebrated by taking a road trip to Antrim  that ended up with a rally and debate at Stormont, the Northern Ireland Parliament.

On our way, we stopped at the Dark Hedges, a beautiful avenue with beech trees, planted in the 18th century near Stranocum, County Antrim. Lately it become famous thanks to the Game of Thrones that filmed several scenes on this road.13407712_10156926586265231_1719594546_n

 

After that we headed to one of the places I most wanted to see: The Giant’s Causeway. This is a World Heritage site in one of the most amazing coasts in Europe.

The Causeway was born due to volcanic activity when highly fluid molten rock was forced up through fissures in the chalk bed to form an extensive lava plateau. The rapidly cooling lava contracted and variations in the cooling rate resulted in the world famous columnar structure. The columns are mainly hexagonal though there are some with up to eight sides.

All the geological explanations will not stop me from marvelling at them. It is absolutely amazing what nature can do!

After photos and a very nice walk we moved a bit more east on the coast to see how ‘dangerous’ is the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

This bridge was built by a fisherman to help him get to this volcanic island that is a good place for salmon. Initially was just rope now it is made of from wood planks and ropes and it is a touristic attraction for adrenaline seekers. We were not so impressed with the ‘danger’, it is safe, just don’t look down! 🙂 The most amazing thing was the colour of the water, the landscape looked so exotic!

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After this stop we took the coastal road down to Belfast were we attended the demonstration of anti-fracking groups in front of the Parliament Buildings at Stormont making use of our “Stop the Drill” banner! Also we manage to see the debate.

To our surprise the debate was quiet and polite! But we were happy to see support in the public gallery from the campaigners against drilling in the north.

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What a day!!

 

 

 

Alice

EVS expedition to Wales

A different experience: CYMRU

Cymru, the welsh name of Wales and Wales is known for its rugged coastline, mountainous national parks, distinctive language and Celtic culture.

I and another volunteer had the chance of visiting Wales, going from Holyhead through Snowdonia down to Lampeter. We went there to participate to the launch of the visitor centre of the Long Wood Community Woodland. This is a social enterprise based around the woodland, they manage timber, growing, cutting, selling in the community but also working as an educational and recreational centre. Now, they opened their visitor centre, all timber, solar panels and compost toilet! I was so happy to be present at the launch and find out how the participant perceives and relates with nature.

Visitor centre

Visitor centre

Also, our accommodation was in an Eco Lodge, Denmark Farm. More to admire here, because it’s an amazing place, a conservation centre where you have accommodation in the middle of wildlife in a place that fits so naturally in the environment. It runs on biomass and solar energy and they also has a system in place that saves water and treats waste water using natural processes.

The campsite has an outdoor wood kitchen and a compost toilet. If you don’t have a tent you can rent the ‘Yurt’. What is a yurt? Is a Mongolian portable round tent. Traditionally it is covered with animals’ skins, sustained by wood, and is used as a dwelling by nomads in Central Asia.

The yurt in the camping site is the modern version, very spacious, has place for 4 persons but can have extra beds, it’s heated with wood stove and it keeps the heat in a very efficient way. Also if the sun is shining it gets very, very warm. You can admire the stars at night through the wheel on the roof that sustains the frame.

It’s an amazing place to really be in nature, forget about electricity, internet find other ways to entertain yourself, have nature walks, enjoy quality time with others.

At least for some days…then back to technology otherwise I won’t be able to write this post!

The trip made me more aware of the possibilities that nature offers us through biomass, very useful for my current research!

Amazing Wales…I was impressed to see that people there speak Welsh and kids are going to bilingual schools so they preserve their old language through time.

They care about nature, they are very proud of their green forests and the Snowdonia mountains.

The place and the people made me feel very cosy and welcomed, I can also say there are similarities with the Irish atmosphere and that is normal since we are talking about a Celtic culture.

Alice

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