New series of ‘Winter Wildlife Talks’ for Children, Adults and Community Groups
Clare County Council’s Biodiversity Officer, in conjunction with Clare Libraries, will be hosting five ‘Winter Wildlife Talks’ during November and December at libraries in Ennis, Shannon and Kilrush
Children, adults, and community groups can learn about biodiversity projects that are taking place in County Clare. The events will see three expert speakers tailor separate talks to both children and adults (including community groups).
On Tuesday 21st November, John Lusby, Raptor Conservation Officer with BirdWatch Ireland, will talk about the ecology of barn owls at Kilrush Public Library. John has worked closely with Clare County Council in the delivery of the Council’s biodiversity projects, including the Clare Barn Owl Nest Box Scheme, and will provide updates on the results of the nest box scheme. The children’s talk will start at 5:00pm and finish at 6:00pm with a one-hour talk for adults starting at 6:45pm.
John Lusby commented: “It is amazing to see the barn owl return and recover in County Clare. The local efforts to help this iconic species are inspiring and are starting to deliver benefits. The call of the barn owl is now heard once again in parts of the county where it has been absent for far too long.”
On Thursday 23rd November, Dr Kate McAney, Ireland Mammal Programme Manager of the Vincent Wildlife Trust, will speak about bats at De Valera Public Library in Ennis, in particular the lesser horseshoe bat, an Annex II listed species of the EU Habitats Directive whose distribution is confined to just six counties in Ireland. The Vincent Wildlife Trust is working closely on a lesser horseshoe bat project with Clare County Council’s Biodiversity Officer. Dr McAney will give a talk for children from 5:00pm to 6:00pm and a talk for adults from 6:45pm to 7:45pm.
Dr McAney said: “The lesser horseshoe bat in Ireland occurs in only six western counties and Clare is a central and important location for the species. Vincent Wildlife Trust is involved in the practical work of protecting and providing roosts for the lesser horseshoe bat and conducts desktop modelling studies to indicate the wildlife corridors needed by the species so it can fly safely within the landscape. They have co-written the Lesser Horseshoe Bat Species Action Plan. I will be describing all these projects during my talk in Ennis as part of the Winter Wildlife Talks series on 23rd November.”
On Tuesday 5th December, Clare County Council’s Biodiversity Officer, Barry O’Loughlin, will give a talk on wetlands and peatland restoration at Sean Lemass Public Library in Shannon. As part of his remit, Barry is overseeing wetland inventory surveys for Clare and has previously worked on restoration of raised bogs, rewetting large-scale industrial cutaway bogs in the midlands region of Ireland and linking community groups to wetlands. Barry previously project-led the Shanakyle Bog Restoration and Habitat Enhancement Project EIP (European Innovation Partnership), which was the first raised bog restoration project to be carried out in County Clare. Barry’s one-hour talk is targeted at adults and community groups and will start at 6:45pm.
Barry O’Loughlin explained: “My role in the Council will involve preparing the next Clare Biodiversity Action Plan 2024-2030. Wetlands and peatlands will be an important aspect of the next plan and my talk will cover biodiversity actions carried out to map, restore and conserve peatlands and wetlands in the county. Collaboration with local community groups, landowners and farmers is important to their protection and enhancement.”
Barry is encouraging members of the public to come along to the Winter Wildlife Talks, saying, “The talks will benefit anybody with an interest in wildlife and there will be practical recommendations that individuals and community groups can use to enhance wildlife in their local area. This is a unique opportunity to hear from expert speakers about ways we can support and protect our local wildlife, or simply find out more about some of Clare’s remarkable native species and habitats.”
The talks will take place at the following times and locations:
Tuesday, 21st November – Kilrush Public Library
- Speaker: John Lusby, Raptor Conservation Officer, BirdWatch Ireland
- 5.00pm-6.00pm: Barn Owls of County Clare (Children’s Talk)
- 6.45pm-7.45pm: Clare Barn Owl Survey and Project Updates (Talk for Adults)
Thursday, 23rd November – De Valera Public Library, Ennis
- Speaker: Dr Kate McAney, Ireland Mammal Programme Manager, Vincent Wildlife Trust
- 5.00pm-6.00pm: Bat Talk (Children’s Talk)
- 6.45pm-7.45pm: The Ecology of Bats and Project Updates (Talk for Adults)
Tuesday, 5th December – Sean Lemass Public Library, Shannon
- Speaker: Barry O’Loughlin, Biodiversity Officer, Clare County Council
- 6.45pm-7.45pm: Peatland Restoration and County Wetland Inventory Surveys (Talk for Adults)
All talks are free to attend.
(1) & (2): Barn Owls: Local efforts to help the iconic barn owl species are starting to deliver benefits. The call of the barn owl is now heard once again in parts of County Clare where it has been absent. On Tuesday 21st November, John Lusby, Raptor Conservation Officer with BirdWatch Ireland, will give a talk about the ecology of barn owls at Kilrush Public Library. Photos: Mike Brown.
(3): Sphagnum moss: The main peat forming agent of raised bogs. Restoration of peatland systems aims to raise the water table and encourage the establishment and development of Sphagnum moss once more for the rare habitat, ‘active raised bog’, and promote carbon sequestration. On Tuesday 5th December, Clare County Council’s Biodiversity Officer Barry O’Loughlin will give a talk on wetlands and peatland restoration at Sean Lemass Public Library in Shannon. Photo: Tina Claffey.
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