Bogs in the Classroom Day
Having lived close to bogs for most of my
life; it was a delightful and educational experience to be introduced once again to the
vast array of plant life and the other life forms in this special environment. This
Bogs in the Classroom day was held on the 22nd of May in the Bord
na Mona Works,
Timahoe and afterwards in Ballynafagh bog and
was well attended by people locally and some not so local.
Dr Catherine O Connell, Head of Education,
Irish Peatland Conservation Council, introduced the day to us. Her deep knowledge and
dedicated feel for our bogs was most informative and the day was made very practical by
her hands on approach with a visit to Ballinafadh bog.
This bog we were told is a classic example of
raised bog to be found. It contains a rich biodiversity of species and habitats. The fact
that it is a Special Area of Conservation means that we can look back nine
thousand years of our environmental history and provide an archive and record of cultural,
climatic and environmental change of the that time.
The abundance of the spagnum mosses,
litchens, sedges, heathers and the bog cotton (to name but a few) were a beautiful sight.
This was complemented by the vast variety of life in the bog pools like the raft spider,
pond skater, water scorpion, frogs, dragonfly and damselfly. A pair of curlews had nested
near the dome of the bog, while the constant sound of the lark was high up in the sky.
This was a most enjoyable and informative day. The
identification sheets of the complete array of life on the bog were very useful for
amateurs like myself and we had little trouble in identifying most species as the day
progressed. Should you get an opportunity to attend next year, do not miss it. Everybody
was very impressed by the day and all went home much more informed about this rich
bogscape at our doorstep.