On a damp, drizzly day in February 2020 a large group of nature lovers pulled on their wellies, donned their raingear and braved the elements to meet up in a carpark outside Blarney.
The occasion? World Wetlands Day! Celebrated internationally on Sunday February 2nd, this day is about raising awareness of the vital role of wetlands to people and the planet.
The theme this year was ‘Wetlands and Biodiversity’. We were fortunate to have the expertise of ecologist Pascal Sweeney on hand to share his vast in-depth knowledge of wetland ecosystems with us.
Pascal guided us on a walk through Clogheenmilcon Fen in Blarney. During the walk we learned the differences between a marsh, swamp, fen and bog and we learned how to identify a variety of plant species. We looked at aquatic plants in the pond and observed as Pascal took some samples of aquatic invertebrates from two different water bodies and explained how and why different species were present in different locations.
We all had the chance to get up close and personal with water-boatmen, back-swimmers, damselfly nymphs, caddisfly larvae and different types of mayfly nymphs and crustaceans.
It was really a wonderful hands-on opportunity to get acquainted with the vast ecosystem and diverse creatures living in our wetlands that would usually go overlooked.