22 May 2019

New biodiversity project competition for local primary schools

Following the recent decision to announce a climate and biodiversity crisis, I am happy to announce my trial project the ‘Critter Corner’.

I have recently been inspired by the school protests on climate change and indeed my own grandchildren’s activism in relation to the environment. My Department has a critical role to play in the global fight against climate change and key steps will be taken in coordination with Minister Bruton’s Climate Action Plan.

However, on a much more local level we can all contribute to the rejuvenation of Ireland’s biodiversity— our native wildlife. The ‘Critter Corner’ project has the potential to make a beneficial impact in our local area and your participation would be great asset.

The shocking recent UN biodiversity report highlights that globally 1 million species are at risk of extinction. Scientists have noted in the report that human society is under direct threat due to this biodiversity loss.  A global report has shown the decline of insects by 2.5% a year – suggesting they could disappear within a century.

If insects disappear, so will entire ecosystems. They are a ‘keystone’ species, meaning all animals from amphibians to larger mammals rely on them as a food source. And if pollinating insect numbers continue to decline, there will be a catastrophic effect on food production. Loss of habitat is one of the greatest threats to Irish native wildlife. Urban areas provide little space for local animals to thrive in. Even the smallest spaces and steps in school or home gardens can make a big difference for wild animals.

With the expertise of Trinity College research associate and host of the ‘Critter Shed’ podcast Collie Ennis, I have created a project for Primary Schools in my constituency in Dublin Rathdown.

Local schools will be creating special designated areas on their school grounds, learning about conservation and biodiversity whilst helping local insects, pollinators, amphibians and larger mammals have a place to go and grow!

If you would like a list of helpful suggestions for your own garden please email [email protected]

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