Wednesday, 28 May 2014

11th May - Wildflower Walk

The IWT Dublin branch held a guided wildflower walk on Sunday, the 11th May by ecologist and IWT volunteer, Sean Meehan through the mature woodlands at St Catherine's Park, Leixlip.

The walk followed the woodland path and there were plenty of opportunities to stop and talk about the plants and ecology of the site. Among the plants encountered were lords and ladies (or cuckoo pint) and wild garlic (or ramsons). Sean also explained the ecology of the woodland, and talked about the threat posed by some of the invasive species in the woodlands, such as rhododendron ponticum and cherry laurel.

Some wild garlic growing under the trees in St. Catherines

Monday, 19 May 2014

6th May Green Drinks - Return of the Eagle!

This month's topic was a dramatic one! The IWT Dublin Branch heard Ronan Hannigan talk about how in 2001, 100 years after the extinction of native raptors, the Golden Eagle Trust launched an ambitious reintroduction programme to bring birds of prey back to Ireland. The plan has met with widespread public support but also poisonings, shootings, opposition and setbacks. After a century, have raptors finally returned to the Irish skies? And are they here to stay? There are three programmes going on at the moment, reintroduction of the golden eagle to Donegal, of the White-tailed eagle to Kerry and the red kite into Wicklow.

Ronan Hannigan, who is Chairman of the Golden Eagle Trust, gave a funny, informative and eye opening talk about the two charities he established, the reintroductions he works on, and how two of our species of Eagle and the Red Kite are returning to Ireland after a long absence. Despite the setbacks, Ronan is optimistic that the reintroductions will succeed in the long term.

Monday, 5 May 2014

27th April - Booterstown Marsh Clean Up

What a Load of Old Rubbish 

(Booterstown Nature Reserve and Beach clean-up)

On 27 April, a sunny Sunday, the IWT Dublin Branch teamed up with An Taisce for their National Spring clean at Booterstown Nature Reserve, an event that was also registered as one of Surfriders’ Ocean Initiatives 2014. Approximately 18 hardy volunteers (men, women and children) turned up to tackle the waste at the coastline and the marsh area around the Bird Sanctuary. Some twenty giant rubbish bags were filled over a two-and-a-half hour period. The most notable item was a suitcase filled with stones - what crime had it committed!

Many thanks to all who showed such good humour and high spirits while carrying out this task. Thanks also to the providers of the lovely selection of buns, cakes, biscuits and refreshments. Photos courtesy of Barbara

Thirsty for tea

Thursday, 1 May 2014

April 13th - Massey's Wood Walk

On Sunday April 13th the Dublin Branch of IWT held a walk in Massey's Wood, Rathfarnham. The weather was overcast but dry and about 15 people showed up to follow Branch members Niall and Karen as they explored some of the trees and flowers to be seen in the wood. Quite a few wildflowers were spotted in the walk including wood sorrel, primrose, lesser celendine, and wild violet. Niall explained some of the background to the flowers to the group. For example, another name for lesser celendine is 'pilewort' because it was believed by medieval herbalists to be a good cure for piles. This is on account of its bulby roots which resemble piles. An infusion of primrose flowers was also believed to be a good tonic for soothing the nerves.

Growing profusely along the way was cherry laurel, an invasive species that is present in large parts of the wood. Karen explained to the group that plants with shiny, waxy leaves like that (and others such as rhododendron) could never be native to Ireland because they had evolved in drier environments where it is necessary to conserve water. There was also many native trees to see however, such as holly and willow, and a very fine native oak, which is at least several hundred years old. As the group were walking back to the entrance of the wood, the sun came out to liven things up. Photos courtesy of Karen

Wood Sorrel

A fine example of native Irish oak, several hundred years old

Massey's Wood as the sun came out

Green Drinks 1st April - Energy Efficiency in the Public Sector

This month the Irish Wildlife Trust Dublin Branch heard Anna Heussaff from Dublin Friends of the Earth talking about the huge savings that could be made by making the public sector more energy efficient. Imagine saving at least €120 million a year in public spending without pay cuts, reductions in services or redundancies. Let’s also imagine saving over 2,000 GWh and 500 Kt of CO2 emissions equivalent at the same time, as part of Ireland’s contribution to stop climate change becoming a catastrophe.

Let’s say that all this can be done within two years. Sounds too good to be true? It’s actually government policy, but like many other policies, it’s short on urgent action.

Anna explored some examples of good practice in saving energy, and the results of research which highlights the widespread lack of action and energy wastage across the public sector. Many of the savings could be from simple things, like not leaving lights on all night, ensuring buildings are properly insulated and installing solar panels on buildings.