Monday, 30 March 2020

Green Drinks 4th February and Outing 1st March - Urban Foraging

The February Green Drinks talk was by Samuel Arnold, an artist who is passionate about foraging wild edibles. As a ceity dweller, he has adapted his interest to his environment and found that living in an urban landscape doesn't have to deprive him of this ancestral activity. Samuel will explain how he gets a lot out of foraging- not just fresh healthy greens, but also a truly rewarding experience in his everyday life. He would like for others to experience this and so will share some knowledge of his activities.

With foraging, edible ‘weeds’ we end up taking care and protecting wild pieces of land (even if this is contained within a small piece of derelict land). We form a relationship with land that is otherwise labelled as ‘neglected’ or disused. It is this type of ‘wild’ land that we so desperately need to allow insect life- and therefore bird life, and indeed human life to become sustainable.

In an urban setting, foraging can be a strong practice in community building, while gathering, preparing, preserving wild foods and materials into many various uses. It is an activity than can include all ages and abilities. 

Samuel also led a very successful foraging event on Sunday 1st March at Dalkey beach, who showed us some of the edible seaweeds and seaside plants that can be found.

Green Drinks 3rd March 2020 - Putting the Bite back into Biodiversity?

The March Green Drinks talk was by Adam Francis Smith, who has a degree in Zoology and Master's on deer ecology from UCD. Adam has talked and written about mammals in Ireland, and is currently studying wolf and lynx populations for a PhD fellowship in Germany with the Frankfurt Zoological Society/University of Freiburg. Adam will talk about conserving our native predators, and about the possibility of reintroducing some of those we have lost. Time for the wolf to come back?

Adam gave a very interesting talk where he talked about the benefits of returning the wolf to Ireland as a keystone species that would help enormously in restoring wildlife habitats, by controlling deer numbers for example. But there are numerous obstacles to this at the moment, not least in winning the support of landowners and the general public. Reintroducing wolves would also have to be an All-Ireland initiative, as wolves don't recognise borders! Adam concluded by saying that, while it may not be practical in the short term for this to happen, in the long-term there is a realistic possibility of bringing back the wolf, if the right policies are pursued.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

12th January 2020 - Bird watching Bull Island

IWT Dublin Branch went bird watching at Bull Island this January. Our guide was the excellent John Fox and there were lots of wintering birds to see along the causeway. We saw plenty of ducks, including pintails, shovelers, shelduck and teal. Other birds included curlews, godwits, lapwings and of course brent geese. There was a good turnout, and the weather was cold but dry. A satisfying morning's birdwatching was had by all.

7th January 2020 - Green Drinks Ireland through birds

January's Green Drinks was a drinks reception to celebrate the publication of 'Ireland through Birds' by Conor W. O'Brien. This fascinating and insightful book on some of Ireland's most elusive birds was launched by Dr. Tim Stott, TU Dublin. There was a great turnout on the night, and Conor sold a fair few copies! You can buy a copy of Conor's book from Merrion Press

The book launch was then followed by a talk by author and bird expert Anthony McGeehan on the birds of Inishbofin, which is a crossroads for migratory birds where unusual species such as North American warblers can be found. Inishbofin also has another advantage in that there are no magpies on the island!

5th November 2019 - Green Drink Forum on Natural Capital

November's Green Drinks talk was by Jane Stout of the Irish Forum on Natural Capital. The Irish Forum on Natural Capital (IFNC) brings together a diverse range of organisations and individuals from academic, public, private and NGO sectors who are interested in the development and application of the natural capital agenda in Ireland.

Jane explained the concept of Natural Capital as follows:

'Nature underpins our very existence on this planet, but it’s being destroyed at an accelerating rate. Although we have ethical and moral reasons for protecting it, public and private bodies often make decisions that affect nature, without taking it into account. The natural capital concept uses the language of business and accountancy to make the case for nature – to make it and its many benefits visible in decision-making processes, and so that we can account for our impacts and dependencies on nature. It’s not about putting a price on nature or commodifying it, it’s about making nature count.'

It comprises the world's stocks of physical and biological resources, including air, water, minerals, soils, fossil fuels and all living things. These stocks work together to deliver ecosystem goods and services that in turn provide benefits to society. 

You can learn more about the Irish Forum on Natural Capital through clicking on this link.

The IFNC Team

Monday, 13 January 2020

10th November 2019 - Fossil hunting in Portmarnock

In November the Dublin Branch went fossil hunting in Portmarnock near the Martello Tower. Led by Aodhán Ó Gógáin of TCD there was a good turnout to see some of the brilliant fossil beds next to us in Dublin.

27th October 2019 - Deer Rut, Phoenix Park

The Dublin Branch had its annual outing to see the fascinating annual deer rut in the Phoenix Park, led by Margaret McGuirk of the OPW. In late Autumn each year the Fallow Deer bucks mate, with a spectacular display of 'maleness'. The fact that the Dublin City Marathon organised their event the same day did not prevent a good turnout. Those attending saw some good scenes of bucks locking horns in their quest to secure a mate. You can learn more about the deer from the Phoenix Park's website