I have had the absolute privilege of teaching a number of modules at Killester College of Further Education over the last number of weeks. The course is brand new and called Pre University Biodiversity and Environmental Studies. I have loved working with this class who are so motivated and ready for anything. We decided to produce a Biodiversity Action Plan for the college and the students are already off and doing the survey work and habitat mapping. We found signs of wildlife around the site. Loving my first foray into 3rd Level teaching.
Although the ‘Heritage in Schools’ programme is paused due to Covid, there has been terrific interest from schools in engaging Specialists like myself to bring children outdoors in these Covid times. We’ve had numerous visits in Finglas, Ballymun, Glasnevin and Julianstown, bringing, in some cases, all the school’s classes out to local parks, woods and local green spaces. The children absolutely loved getting outside and teachers commented that there are no longer any different activities for children to do, no after school and very little movement in school due to strict ‘Bubbles’ and ‘Pods’ with limited break times. I had children rolling down hills, racing to pick up bark chips, looking for fox poo, figuring out seed dispersal, setting up tracking signs on the ground and generally just loving being outside. ‘Get them outside’ is my motto.
Well it was a mammoth undertaking but we did it! Every Saturday for the past 5 weeks in October and November we delivered workshops to mentor 7 different Community Groups to help them implement their local Community Biodiversity Action Plan. Most Groups have very little budget and volunteer help so translating Action Plans into practical, small and implementable projects is vital.
Topics covered included
-What wildlife is already in my garden?
-How do I identify the wildflowers that I have?
-Practical, step by step guides on how to draw a Habitat Map
– How to create an easy Management or Strategy Plan from your Habitat Map
-How do I learn how to identify different insects and wildlife?
-How do I survey my garden wildlife
-What do bees and other wildlife need to thrive?
-Some simple yet effective Actions to help my garden wildlife
-How to use the Pollinator.ie website to look up resources and log my findings
-What resources are available to help
The Zoom medium was tricky and I never got over the nerves of moving into ‘New Screen’ and moving from ‘Presentation’ to ‘Video’. All a learning curve but we got great feedback that everything was very practical and helpful. Well done to all those volunteer groups out there making a real difference.
Our 2nd Weekly Wanders was just magic. The sun shone, the waves lapped and we found lots of interesting nature items on the beach and in the sand dunes.
Well done Siún on your Weekly Wonders Craft!
We ran two days this week due to demand and had great fun pond dipping in the Phoenix Park. Great reviews afterwards from the adults attending, see these in Testimonials.