The carder queen bumblebee is buzzing with activity at this time of year
THE blossoms of hawthorn and cow parsley, were turning the roadsides, a creamy white, as I travelled over to Doon Convent NS as part of the school’s active week. I was joining the staff and students for two days, and we were going to discover nature in and around the school.
Being out in nature is a great way to stay fit and healthy. The first day was spent exploring the grounds of the school and convent. In the flower bed there are lots of purple flowers. Pollinators are attracted to this bright colour, and we managed to capture a large, carder queen bumblebee. She was passed around in a container, and the students were fascinated by this royal visitor to their school.
In a mature holly tree, we observed wild honey bees who have set up their hive in the hollow trunk. The bees took no notice of the students as they went about their important business, of pollinating flowers. Beehives are now a very rare occurrence, in the countryside. The principal also explained how they had saved the tree from being cut down as a new car park was created.
The skies were also full of life, as summer migrants, the swallows and swifts, flew above our heads. They come to Doon, to feed on the abundance of insects, found during the summer.
There are loads of games to play in nature. Everyone had great fun with Stickyback or cleavers. This was stuck onto unsuspecting backs.
We also played soldiers, with the long stems of plantain. To my shame, I lost to every teacher on the day. The old roses had rich colours, and we smelled their divine scent. These will grow really early from a cutting.
We were kindly invited in, to view the Doon Men’s shed’s wonderful facilitates. The themes of the shed and school are very similar, focusing on health, both physical and mental, and having fun as well. They had done amazing work, and they were constructing flower boxes and bird boxes. These would be fabulous in anyone’s garden, or for a tidy town group.
On last stop was a visit to the New Doon Social farm. The polytunnel was full of delicious vegetables and they are preparing for the arrival of chickens and pigs. This will be a great resource for all the schools, and is right on their doorstep.
The following day we stretched the legs with a walk along the beautiful Kilmoylan bog trail. The abundance of flowers and the sunny day brought out the butterflies.
The students caught green veined white butterflies, and we also saw specked wood and a male orange tip butterfly.
The birds were well hidden, by the leaves, but we could hear the songs of the robin and the willow warbler. Thankfully the teacher had reminded her class to bring their lunches; fresh air and walking gives you a great appetite.
The days flew by and thanks to all the staff and students for making the walk so interesting.
Living Limerick - Explore the Wildlife of Annacotty: Saturday, May 25 from 10.30am- 12.30pm. We will be looking and listening for birds. Suitable for children and adults who want to learn more about the wonders of nature. Meet at the Mill at 10.30am. There is no charge for the event.
Living Limerick - Celebrating gardening and nature: Living Limerick will have a stand at the Meitheal Cooperative Society Celebration of Growing day on Sunday, May 26 at the Organic College, Dromcollogher from 2 to 5pm. We will be showing how organic gardening benefits nature, and also doing family friendly walks, through the garden to discover wildlife.
email@example.com or 089 4230502. Albert is also available to do walk/talks with schools, tidy towns, youth and community groups