There is little doubt that getting out into nature is an acknowledged way of calming the spirit and restoring mental vigour, and many of you will be planning your summer holiday around visiting parks and gardens, enjoying sun, sand and sea, or maybe walking in the hills.
Our psyche seems to need the natural world – after all we evolved from it and spent millennia adjusting our bodies and minds to living as part of nature. Barely two hundred generations ago we were still hunter-gatherers, and it is only in the last few centuries that we have torn ourselves away from our cradle and chosen to see urban living as a better alternative.
So with summer approaching, plans need to be made to keep the children happy and to refresh ourselves. Cabragh Wetlands has a few events coming up that should entice you along. From July 8th-12th we will be hosting our annual Children’s Camp, led as always by Jimmy Duggan, when children will have the chance to get down and dirty, out in the natural world of North Tipperary. The theme is Detective in the Wild, encouraging participants to find out for themselves about the natural and human heritage of the area. Botany, history, ornithology, archaeology – all will be involved as the children investigate pond, stream, mountain, meadow, woodland and the wildlife of the many habitats and ecosystems around the county. This is a camp that teaches things of eternal value, but which seem to play an ever more marginal role in our schools and daily lives. The cost is €80 including trips. Booking can be made directly with Jimmy (0504-23831) or collect a form from Cabragh Wetlands Centre. The camp is for pupils in classes 2 – 5, and will last from 9.00 to 2.30 each day.
After a successful season of classes under Tracey’s inspiring direction, Cabragh’s Art Group will be spending the summer working on their own projects, before resuming more formal lessons in the autumn and winter. The group will meet on Thursday afternoons from 2-4, starting on May 23rd. They’ll see where inspiration leads them, and while painting will likely be the main focus, you are very welcome to bring along your own projects, to try other media, to swap ideas with others in the group and to develop your talents and interests in a relaxed and friendly environment. If the weather is good, we hope you’ll get out into the wetlands and find creativity from the natural world. Contact Kathleen on 087-1335581.
Finally we are hosting a Bioblitz event at Cabragh Wetlands on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th June. The idea is to see how many species can be identified in the 200-plus acres of the wetlands in a 24 hour period. Local experts will come in to search ponds and rivers, browse through reedbeds, study flora and fauna, identify trees and birds, flowers, insects, grasses and sedges, fish and mammals. We want plenty of local support. Publicity will appear on our website and through other media in a week or so, and we encourage families, teachers and students, amateur naturalists of any persuasion, to come along and see what they can find. Starting at 5.00pm on the Friday evening, we’ll have plenty of public events over the 24 hours, and a team will be busy sending the information back to the gurus at the National Biodiversity Centre in Waterford, under whose aegis the event is happening. There will be plenty happening, so mark the date in your diary and come along to sharpen your identification skills and reconnect with nature.