WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT AND WHAT’S HAPPENING TO THEM?
Greenland (near the North Pole) and Antarctica (South Pole) are home to most of the world’s glacial ice, including its only two ice sheets. Glaciers and ice sheets have been appearing in the news quite frequently in the past few years as they are increasingly unstable due to global warming. Just before Christmas it was reported that the Thwaites Glacier in the Antarctic, which is the widest glacier in the world and is sometimes referred to as the ‘Doomsday Glacier’, could collapse in as little as five years. Candice Moen has a closer look at our earth’s ice.
THE HISTORY OF ICE ON EARTH
There have been many ice ages on earth, most of them long before humans made their first appearance. These ice ages would have ranged from “comparatively mild” to “so severe that the entire Earth froze over for tens or even hundreds of millions of years”. Looking back over the history of these ice ages, the planet seems to have three main settings: ‘greenhouse’, when tropical temperatures extend to the poles and there are no ice sheets at all; ‘icehouse’, when there is some permanent ice, although its extent varies greatly; and ‘snowball’, in which the planet’s entire surface is frozen over. During the different greenhouse, icehouse and snowball there was ice present in various different locations across the earth’s surface.
The Barker home place near Derryvalley, Co Monaghan is enjoying a wonderful renaissance under the thoughtful stewardship of owner (and well known Toastmaster) Charlie Barker. A few intrepid members of Transition Monaghan took a visit to see and learn how diversification and respect for nature are paying dividends. Dermot McNally explains all.
Transition Monaghan are involved in a Water Quality awareness video project on Monaghan water quality. The project is led by Siolta Chroi, supported by Transition Monaghan and funded by LAWPRO). At this stage in late 2021, a lot of the footage has been taken and a few interviews have been done. There are a few more interviews to do before the footage can be edited to make the final video.
MEG member and novice beekeeper Liam Murtagh says that our ecosystem including many farm crops are at risk due to the decline in the number of bees, so he is encouraging more people to consider keeping honeybees.
Top bar beehive with a removable viewing window cover
Have you seen many bees so far this year? Most likely you will have seen only a few bumble bees, as the weather has not been favourable for the honeybee. In fact many colonies of honeybees have not survived the winter and in my own case I lost one of my two colonies. Many fellow beekeepers in Ireland have had significant losses as have beekeepers throughout Europe.
As Spring approaches and our hedgerows are about to burst forth into growth, experienced hedge layer John McKeon considers the value of our hedgerows and how we should look after them. John is a committee member of the Hedge Laying Association of Ireland and he will be running a one day training course on hedge laying in Castleblayney on Saturday 8th February. Tel 087 1462790 for details.
Eamon Mc Loughlin of the Hedge Laying Association of Ireland secures a newly laid hedge with traditional wooden gabhlógs at a hedge laying demonstration.
During these early weeks of the January many of us make plans for a summer holiday. Given the increasing awareness of the damage that certain types of tourism have on communities and on the planet, there is an emerging interest in ecotourism, responsible tourism and sustainable tourism. These alternative options are worth exploring, whether we are booking our holiday in Ireland or abroad or if we happen to be a local tourism provider.
Canoeing on Lough Muckno, Castleblayney on a sunny summer’s day in 2013. According to the Castleblayney Town Development Plan, the “special character and serenity of Lough Muckno derives from its combination of tranquil lakes, drumlin topography, wooded parkland and integral location within Castleblayney”. The lake and surrounding park, now a top coarse fishing destination, have considerable potential for a range of ‘sustainable tourism’ activities.
Rossmore Forest Park in Monaghan Town is a wondrous place for many – spending childhoods fumbling around between tree roots and over stepping-stones. A lot of us hold Rossmore so dear because of the nostalgia it resurfaces any time we visit. For these reasons, the people of Monaghan are very passionate about protecting and nurturing the park.
Dermot McNally of Transition Monaghan looks at our increasing detachment from nature as a result of our modern lifestyles which focus strongly on consumerism, urbanisation and automation, and have led to concern for our physical, emotional and mental health. Thankfully, pro-active reaction has led to the formation of many groups and activities to reinstate our connection with the surrounding natural world. In this article, Dermot explores the concept of ‘Forest Schools’ and how it could be applied in County Monaghan.
There is no doubt that today’s children are missing out on old fashioned outdoor fun and adventure. Could ‘forest schooling’ use nature as the place for learning as well as a playground for society’s youngest?
Ireland needs more native trees. Packs of trees for planting are now available as part of an initiative to plant one million trees in Ireland on just one day – Saturday 11 February 2017. If you are a landowner or a member of an organisation with suitable space, why not join in and order your trees – they are an ideal Christmas or New Year gift to our country, our planet, our children and future generations.
The not for profit group behind the initiative is called ‘One Million Trees in One Day’ and they provide the trees at a small charge. There are three types of tree packs that contain 50 trees per pack. There is a Woodland Pack, a Coppice Pack and a Hedge Pack and the vast bulk of the trees supplied are of native Irish provenance. Packs include appropriate mixes of oak, hazel, alder, rowan, birch, crab apple scots pine. Hawthorn and blackthorn are the main species in the Hedge Pack. Trees can be ordered online and are delivered to a location that is convenient for collecting them.
Many species of our wildlife such as the butterfly and the bumblebee are suffering a decline in numbers. As part of an effort to conserve our biodiversity, Monaghan Tidy Towns Network and the National Biodiversity Data Centre are inviting people to a FREE practical workshop on identifying the various species of butterfly and bumblebee we have in the county. It will also cover how to record sightings of these insects. The workshop will take place in Ballybay Wetlands Centre on Saturday, 28 May (10am-4pm).
When we think of a fine summer’s day in Ireland, the hum of bumblebees and the fluttering of butterflies probably spring to mind. Unfortunately today there are fewer bumblebees and butterflies in Ireland than in past decades with some species having become extinct and others heading in that direction. Undertaking surveys and taking action to improve the habitats of these insects is crucially important to the future survival of at least some of these species. Continue reading →