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Creating a Buzz for Biodiversity

24.10.2019

Kiltiernan School Kids’s Galway 2020 Project Creates a Buzz for Biodiversity.

Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture Small Towns Big Ideas project, Bee Loud launched last week in an event led by environmentalist and broadcaster Éanna Ní Lamhna. Teachers and students at Kiltiernan National School have taken inspiration from the “bee-loud glade” of William Butler Yeats’ The Lake Isle of Innisfree in vowing to keep Kilcolgan buzzing with wildlife. Kilcolgan is a small village in south Galway – not far from Coole Park and Thoor Ballylee, the vibrant surroundings of which found their way into the poetic imaginary of W. B. Yeats.

Led by deputy principal Bríd Fenlon and principal Edel Leech, Bee Loud will invite the children to plant a garden of native plants and create “buzzy” poems and artworks celebrating growth, wildness and our good friends, the bees. Every second Thursday, Kiltiernan National School children will receive a talk on biodiversity in the morning before partaking in workshops until 3pm. Recent talks were delivered by local councillor and beekeeper PJ Murphy and the school’s artist-in-residence, Veronika Straberger. Veronika teamed up with the students as part of Buzzing, a project supported by Galway County Council’s artists in schools programme.

 

“Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg said ‘I have learned you are never too small to make a difference.’ As a small, rural primary school, we are hoping to make a difference in appreciating the habitat needed by the humble bee and other pollinators.”

Bee Loud encourages children to have their voices heard as global citizens. 5th and 6th classes are currently preparing a powerpoint on the value of biodiversity and wild flowers on road verges and in public parks. The children will present their findings before the Galway County Council at the Council Chamber next summer.

Bríd Fenlon says, “We feel this project raises awareness but more importantly works towards a simple, effective way to make a change for good. It is starting small but hopefully leading to policy changes in how Councils maintain and landscape our roadside and gardens.”

Students will be well prepared for their presentation, having attended workshops on Irish plant heritage and biodiversity with Irish Seed Savers Association’s Áine Ní Fhlatharta, Janet Laffey of Green Sod Ireland and experts from Keane’s Garden Centre, The Burren Perfumery and Coole Park. They will also have the opportunity to express their own perspectives on the topic through the magic of creative writing with prolific poet Denise Blake.

Bee Loud will culminate in exhibitions opening on Friday, 8 May 2020 in the school, garden centre, local cafés and Coole Park. Documentation of the project’s various stages will feature alongside an exciting visual display of the intricate honeycomb, with each student contributing their own personal, hexagonal cell.

Looking forward, Bríd adds, “Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg said ‘I have learned you are never too small to make a difference.’ As a small, rural primary school, we are hoping to make a difference in appreciating the habitat needed by the humble bee and other pollinators. Through this project, we want to create a lasting impact with our new partners and network of support – inspiring others with our art, writing and increasing respect for the environment.”

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