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Biodiversity Day 2004
2:00 - 4:00
p.m. Biodiversity Activities Indoors and Outdoors
Stories with Eddie Lenihan
First Clare Biodiversity Day Attracts Huge Crowds
Dromore Nature Reserve near Ruan on a sunny Saturday afternoon was the idyllic setting for the first big celebration of International Biodiversity Day in Ireland. County Clare showed the way forward in nature conservation when several groups and organisations combined forces to provide a great family day out. Over 1,500 visitors attended as guests of the National Parks and Wildlife Service who own and manage the reserve.
There was fun for everyone on the beautiful sunny day. Clare Biodiversity Day began at 2pm and by 3pm the woods were alive with hundreds of people enjoying the activities. There were guided walks through the woodland which showed the plants and animals that live in the woods. The woodland walks were led by various experts including Sasha van der Sleesen a woodland ecologist and Rob Steed the local conservation ranger who manages Dromore Wood. There were boat trips on the lakes run by Ennis and District Anglers Association. The log cabin and around it was full of displays on biodiversity. They included live lobsters and crabs which could be picked up by those brave enough, as well as an aquarium with fish and eels. The bat stand had dead bats and bat droppings which could be examined as well as a recording of bat sounds. Also there were many other stalls including Waterways Ireland, Irish Seed Savers Association, ENFO, Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation, CELT (Centre for Environmental Living and Training, IPCC and Irish Wildlife Trust.
Other activities included face painting and a chance to make your own corn dolly. Everyone enjoyed the day and comments included “Excellent day – great boat trip – lots of information available about wildlife” and “very interesting and the kids loved it”. The crowds thronged to see the Seanchaí Eddie Lenihan sat in the woods by an ancient ruin tell wonderful stories about fairy forts and changelings and other spooky tales passed on to him by local old folk.
For those fit and interested in river ecology, there was a river ecology walk led by Fran Igoe, an ecologist with Shannon Regional fisheries Board. He took people off the beaten track to the river Fergus to see fish and aquatic insects as well as river restoration which has been recently carried out.
Over 200 people returned at 9pm for the bat walk. Sinead Biggane explained that several different species of bat live in the caves and ruined buildings of County Clare and every bat eats around 3,000 midges every night - this was greatly appreciated by all present as the midges were by now in full attack mode! She then showed how an electronic bat-detector works and each species can be identified as it's high-pitched ultrasonic radar squeak is turned into a sound that we can hear.
This was the first year that Biodiversity Day was celebrated in Clare or Ireland. Elaine Keegan, Biodiversity Project Manager for Clare said “I am delighted to see the interest in biodiversity in Clare, particularly amongst children”. She said that the day was a great success thanks to all involved and especially the Heritage Council, LEADER, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Clare County Council who co-funded the event.
Many of the people at the event called for an annual Biodiversity Day in Clare. Comments from people at the event included “Congratulations on a great days work by your team, excellent for the children and everyone catered for. Please make it an annual event” and “Excellent organisation. Hope you’ll be there next year”. Elaine confirmed that Clare Biodiversity Day will definitely become an annual event.
View photographs taken on the day