The annual celebration of Ireland’s biodiversity goes ahead despite lockdown.

This weekend brings a celebration of the diverse life that calls Ireland home.

To coincide with the International Day of Biodiversity, the Irish Environmental Network is asking you to explore your garden and local areas and share what you find in the National Backyard Bioblitz this weekend.

Much of our world has come to a standstill in the last month; cars are left in driveways, planes are grounded and people shift to working at home. But while we are in a period of lockdown, other inhabitants of the world are still going through their usual activities.

Songbirds are nesting, trees are blossoming, insects have come out of hibernation, and all of these are can be seen locally. If you’re lucky, you may see larger mammals and birds of prey, or be able to explore the seashore.

Biodiversity refers to the variety of plant and animal life on Earth and the relationships between them. The IEN, with support from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), have organised a family friendly event to celebrate this rich web of life.

“We want people to go into their backyards or somewhere local and look at the plants and animals that they find.” said Karen Ciesielski, Chief Executive of the IEN. “You will be amazed at the variety and the amount of biodiversity that we have under our noses if you take a look”

Experts on hand

“IEN member groups: the Irish Wildlife Trust, The Native Woodland Trust and the Irish Peatland Conservation Council, along with other experts, will be available over the weekend to identify anything that you find.” Karen explained.

Simply post your photos and use the hashtag #BackyardBioblitz. On Twitter tag @IrishEnvNet, and on Instagram tag @national.biodiversity.week.

“We have been sharing lots of resources to help wildlife in your garden, and these can all be explored on our website.”

Family Friendly

The Backyard Bioblitz is something that all ages can get involved with to give themselves some time with nature.

If you are looking for some extra activities for the weekend, the IEN has also produced a nature scavenger hunt Activity Sheet for young explorers. It can be downloaded through the website: www.biodiversityweek.ie.

Post your photos for identification, and share your completed Activity Sheet too!

Usual events postponed

With movement and gathering restrictions in place, the usual events for Biodiversity Week could not take place.

“Because Biodiversity Week is all about people getting together and enjoying nature we have decided to move the main celebration of Ireland’s Biodiversity to later in the year.”

“Thanks to the support of the NPWS, we will celebrate International Day of Biodiversity and we will have a full week of our usual events later in the Autumn,” assured Karen.

“However we can’t let Biodiversity day go by without marking it, so we have created a family friendly event that can be held whilst observing social distancing.”

Connecting with the natural world has been proven to reduce stress and improve mental health, so take some time this weekend to explore the life that’s on your doorstep, and discover something new about the creatures who share this island with us.

About the Author

Catherine O'Toole

Catherine is a contributor to the Green News. She has a BA in Photography from DIT and has a keen interest in conservation photography.