Over 100 nature-related events will take place across the country to mark this year’s National Biodiversity Week.

From today (Friday, May 13) until Sunday May 22, there is a full programme of activities aiming to engage the public such as whale spotting; bat walks; along with dawn and dusk choruses.

People can also try their hand at identifying plants, helping to create community wildlife gardens or ‘bioblitzes’, where all the living species within a designated area are recorded.

Dung beetle
Dung beetle

This year’s event will be officially launched today by Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, the Irish Environmental Network’s chief operating officer (COO) Justin Byrne, and Heritage Council CEO Virginia Teehan at Enniscoe House on the shores of Lough Conn in Co. Mayo.

Minister Noonan commended the Irish Environmental Network for coordinating such a diverse range of events.

“National Biodiversity Week is a great opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to get out into nature and learn how to make space for it in our own communities.

“It’s also a fantastic way of meeting new people and engaging with some of the brilliant organisations involved in biodiversity conservation around the country,” the minister said.

Commenting ahead of the launch, Irish Environmental Network COO, Justin Byrne said:

“After two years of a pandemic, we have seen our relationship with nature shift. We have observed first-hand how healing and essential time in nature is to us all.

“From the beauty of spotting wildflowers on a walk to the joy of observing a bird in your backyard, the diversity of our flora and fauna keeps our eyes, mind and hearts open and full of wonder,” Byrne added.

“Building a stronger knowledge of and cultivating an appreciation for our biodiversity is something everyone can benefit from.

“But it is essential that this pleasure should not be taken for granted. We have a lot to be grateful for within our natural environment and this gratitude should propel action to help preserve and sustain these ecosystems, which sustain our very lives as we know them,” he concluded.

The initiative is funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and supported by the Heritage Council’s network.

The full programme is available on www.biodiversityweek.ie.