Ireland’s nature and wildlife will take centre stage from 19-28 May, with over 150 events scheduled across the country for National Biodiversity Week.
The annual 10-day celebration of nature and wildlife offers a variety of free events and activities for the whole family. Organised by the Irish Environmental Network and funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the week will provide opportunities for the public to connect with nature and learn from local experts and groups actively working to protect our natural heritage.
Events will reach communities in every corner of Ireland, showcasing coasts, rivers and estuaries, hedgerows, wetlands, native woodlands, the marine environment and more. Guided nature walks and field trips for children will introduce participants to pollinators and other biodiversity in local greenspaces. Hands-on workshops will cover topics ranging from composting and willow weaving to bat box building and pond creation.
Amateur nature photographers are invited to submit photos for the 11th annual Biodiversity Photographer of the Year competition, happening throughout May.
Ireland’s Biodiversity Week coincides with the United Nation’s International Day for Biological Diversity1 on 22 May, a day dedicated to increasing understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.
As people gather to celebrate biodiversity across Ireland, they’ll also discuss calls to action on how to protect and restore biodiversity. With 85% of Ireland’s EU-protected habitats reported to be in “unfavourable” condition and 46% of these in decline,2 Ireland faces a future of rapidly disappearing wildlife unless action is taken.
Last month, the Citizens' Assembly on Biodiversity Loss issued a final report with 159 recommendations3 on how Ireland can improve its response to the biodiversity crisis. The recommendations amplify many commitments that emerged from the United Nations at COP154 to halt pollution and restore habitats by 2030. The need for Ireland to adequately fund and enforce existing laws to reverse biodiversity loss is also called out by the Citizens’ Assembly. The report is a powerful signal that ordinary Irish people deeply value biodiversity.
As National Biodiversity Week kicks off, a variety of in-person and virtual events will bring communities together nationwide to be inspired by nature and learn how to pitch in to protect it.
Families and students can even participate in Biodiversity Week at home through special events like the Biodiversity Scavenger Hunt, a self-guided activity to discover wildlife in gardens or local parks. During the Backyard Bioblitz on 26-28 May, wildlife experts will be available to help identify photos of nature submitted online.
Discovering the wonder of nature is the first step to local dialogue and action to restore biodiversity in Ireland. Welcoming the launch of National Biodiversity Week, Karen Ciesielski, Chief Executive Officer of the Irish Environmental Network, said:
“National Biodiversity Week draws people together from across Ireland with the common thread that we all depend on nature. We need healthy ecosystems to deliver services people rely on everyday, like clean air, water, food and a resilient climate.
More than 150 events for Biodiversity Week will offer opportunities to have fun and to be inspired by nature. There is an event for everyone to explore Ireland’s environment and learn how to do your part to protect it.
Biodiversity Week is a celebration of nature and a reminder that the urgency of halting biodiversity loss has never been greater. The Citizens’ Assembly report delivered a call to action to our leaders in Government. Ireland must change course to address the biodiversity crisis and secure a sustainable future for wildlife and people.”
A full listing of Biodiversity Week events can be found at https://biodiversityweek.ie/
Irish Environmental Network
085 283 6336
A file of available photo assets for press can be accessed through this link.
1 "From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity" is the theme for International Biodiversity Day 2023, following on from the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) held in 2022. https://www.cbd.int/article/idb2023
2 “Interim Review of the Implementation of the National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-2021”, 2020: https://bit.ly/3WhhmtO
3 The 99 members of the Citizens’ Assembly were drawn from across the nation and a variety of backgrounds to consider how Ireland can re-evaluate current policies and practices to save biodiversity. https://citizensassembly.ie/report-of-the-citizens-assembly-on-biodiversity-loss-report-launches/
4 COP15 resulted in a landmark international agreement to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, with commitments to end environmentally harmful subsidies, tackle pollution, and protect at least 30 percent of the earth’s land and sea areas by 2030.