Wednesday, 23 August 2017

An adventure in Urban Plant Hunting - in Galway

Ooh this is going to be fun: a free urban flora walk in Galway this Saturday 26th August with some very friendly and knowledgeable botanists who can't wait to show you how to identify wild flowers! 

Over to Phoebe O'Brien to tell us more: 

"Looking out at the rain in Galway I’m both excited and nervous about leading the BSBI Galway urban flora walk sponsored by the Heritage Council. This is a new initiative for BSBI Ireland and hopefully will introduce the society’s work to a new group of people. 

"The event is very much aimed at beginners and is free, part of the National Heritage Week celebrating the relationship between people and nature. It is also part of the European Heritage Days 2017. 

"I’m aiming to show people which plants are growing around them in an urban setting. I love BSBI events in the field and discovering rarities with other members, and I’m hoping the people I meet next Saturday will eventually sign up and head out on other BSBI events. We are keeping this event short and sweet. It will be less than 2 km on flat pavements around the river Corrib and canals. 

"We are starting at a reasonable 12.00 noon and plan to drop into a pub for a quick break and for getting out the books if it’s pouring. It may be the first time participants have used a hand lens or opened a Flora (without pictures!). 

"The plants we’ll cover will be fairly familiar, but we’ll look at them in greater detail so that we can start to recognise the features which crop up over and over again when trying to key out a new plant. Well that’s my hope anyway!

"I am saying ‘we’ here because I’m thrilled to tell you that Eugene Lambe, once a lecturer in botany at Galway University, is returning to share his knowledge with us. Eugene is better known these days as a traditional Irish musician who plays and makes uilleann pipes. I am fascinated to get out and about with him. We are joined by ecology student Ciaran Bruton who is currently focusing on communities and biodiversity.

"You’ll never know what you might find in a city, or whether someone has tidied away the plants you saw yesterday. I’m hoping to share my passion with beginners and show them how to identify at least 40 common Irish wild flowers. 

"I will share my finds with News & Views readers in a follow up blogpost. In the meantime, here's a photo (on the right) of me and Daniel Kelly (BSBI member and generally amazing botanist) exploring urban flora in New York".

If you would like to join Phoebe, Eugene and Ciaran on their exploration of Galway's urban flora on Saturday, please click here to register on-line. They will be setting off from Galway Cathedral at noon and you'll be able to follow their progress on Twitter under the hashtag #BSBIGalwayWalk

We acknowledge the support of the Heritage Council for very kindly funding this event as part of Heritage Week 2017.