April 26 – May 30, 2024

ENVIRONMENT : Making a difference

Fair Seas welcomes announcement of new national park off Kerry coast

Festival of Biodiversity offers opportunity to engage with nature

T he first annual BioFest – the and 19 2024 at CECAS (The Centre of Excellence for Climate Action and Sustainability), Myross Wood House, Leap. The festival aims to celebrate local biodiversity and offer visitors the chance to engage with nature in a number of ways. Saturday will begin with a guided woodland walk, a workshop on coastal habitats for children and a talk about the special bird the Chough. In the afternoon there will be a workshop on meadow making and an event titled ‘Tree Amigos’ followed by a presentation titled ‘Nurturing Gardens for Nature in a Changing Climate’. Later in the day there will be a talk on bio-economy and circular economy and a screening of the popular new film ‘Birdsong’. Saturday will close with a night time bat walk. Sunday will start with a workshop West Cork Festival of Biodiver- sity – will take place on May 18 titled ‘Biodiversity for Young People’, followed by a green doodling work- shop. There will be another guided woodland walk, a chance to make plant pots with newspaper and sow some seedlings, and a workshop on companion planting in the garden in the walled garden. The day will finish

F air Seas has land’s eighth national park will be located off the coast of Kerry. The first Marine Na - tional Park is located in an area previously identified by the en - vironmental coalition as an area of interest for Marine Protected Areas. It is also home to Ireland’s only Hope Spot. In January 2023, Fair Seas successfully campaigned for the Greater Skellig Coast welcomed the news that Ire-

with an informative open conversation on biodiversity. There will be an information table with experienced professionals to an- swer any biodiversity questions (big or small!) on both days. CECAS will host a pop-up café offering lunch, teas and coffee from 11am-3pm. on both days. BioFest welcomes those who are new to learning about biodiversity and particularly aims to help people do more for nature in their homes, gardens, businesses and farms across West Cork. The festival will be fun, informative and social. It is working with locally-based ecologists, organi- sations and businesses to demonstrate how biodiversity can be improved and experienced in many different ways. Facilitators will be joining the festival from Two Green Shoots (Bantry), Páirc n’ Tobair (Rosscarbery), CECAS Community Garden, NPWS (National Parks and Wildlife Service), Green Economy Foundation, Kinsale College of Further Education (Permaculture), Biodiversity in Schools with many more to be confirmed. Unless specified otherwise all events are free but must be booked in advance as numbers are limited. The festival is run voluntarily by Nikki Keeling (Green Economy Foundation), Mark

Robins (CECAS Biodiversity Coor- dinator) and Róisín Foley (CECAS). The festival is funded by the Irish Environmental Network with support from CECAS. The festival wishes to thank facilitators and their respective organisations and businesses for their support. Organisers hope BioFest 2024, cel- ebrating our biodiversity, with walks, talks and workshops, learning more about how you can do more for nature, will be an annual event for this region that trades so much on the quality of its natural environment. Mark Robins (CECAS) said: “We know so many people want to do more for nature and we’ve planned BioFest as a great way to learn more and meet others who want to help give nature a home.” Nikki Keeling (Green Economy Foundation) said: “BioFest will be a great opportunity to come together and share knowledge and ideas on how to help repair the decline in biodiversity.” Keep an eye on instagram @ greeneconomyfoundation and @cecas. ie and CECAS’s Facebook page for a more detailed timetable, further information and future Eventbrite links for booking.

Marine Protected Areas will go even further, ensuring that Ireland meets its targets to pro- tect 30 per cent of its marine environment by 2030 and ensuring that stakeholders consulta- tion is a central part of the process.” Fair Seas is cam- paigning for strong and ambitious legislation committing to effec- tively protecting 30 per cent of the seas around Ireland by 2030, with 10 per cent strictly protected. The group

wants to see stakeholder engagement at every stage, clear delivery timeframes and a robust management framework, with targeted, site-specific measures to ensure MPAs deliver for nature. The seas off the coast of Kerry are breeding areas for several threatened species of shark, ray and skate. This is an important area of interest for whales, dolphins and porpoises. The islands and archipelagos that skirt the peninsulas of Kerry are some of Ireland’s most prominent seabird breeding sites.

to be recognised as a special place that is scientifically identified as critical to the health of the ocean. Jack O’Donovan Trá, Fair Seas Communications Officer (pictured) said, “The new Marine National Park is located in an area of incredible biodiversity. It is vital that this area, its rich habitats and species are preserved for future generations. National Parks, as guardians of nature, aim to do that, however, we believe that properly resourced and effectively managed


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