Children can celebrate small mammals during Biodiversity Week

A variety of events focusing on small mammals will take place in Coole Park and Garryland Nature Reserve next week as part of Biodiversity Week, which runs from Saturday May 17 to Sunday May 25.

The week-long calendar of events, organised by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, will feature workshops, walks, and talks suitable for all ages.

The NPWS is also hoping to add the data gathered during next week’s events to the Irish Mammal Atlas.

Events for children include an art workshop with environmentalist Gordon D’Arcy on Saturday May 17 from 2pm to 4pm in the walled garden at Coole. Mr D’Arcy will talk about our native mammals and show children how to draw some of them. Later that evening Caitriona Carlin from the Applied Ecology Unit of NUI Galway will demonstrate research methods for collecting evidence of small mammals, and she will give a talk in the visitor centre entitled “The small mammals of Coole and beyond”. This event will take place from 8pm to 10pm approximately.

The next morning, Sunday 18, Ms Carlin will be in Coole from 8.30am to 10am to check on the results of her survey and investigate any overnight mammal activity. This will be followed by a walk in Garryland Nature Reserve led by Raymond Stephens, conservation ranger with National Parks and Wildlife Service, from 10.30am to 12.30pm. Entitled “Mammal tracks and other signs”, the meeting point is at Garryland car park.

On Saturday May 24 a public talk entitled “A talk about bushy tails – an introduction to the Irish Stoat and Pine Marten” will be given by Kate McAney of the Vincent Wildlife Trust in the visitor centre at Coole from 7pm to 8pm. Following the talk there will be an opportunity to look for more signs of small mammals. The final event of the week will be on Sunday afternoon from 2pm to 4pm, when children will be able to make or draw their own small mammal with help from the NPWS guides at Coole.

It is advisable to bring suitable clothing for all outdoor events and a torch for night-time. All events are free and no booking is required. Further information is available from Coole Visitor Centre, Gort, phone 091 631804, email [email protected], or visit


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