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Biodiversity: Citizen Science, Marine Plants and the Beauty of Bogs

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Join SHEP Earth Aware and Cork Environmental Forum for presentations and discussion on the topic of biodiversity.

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For our panel discussion on Friday, 14th May, we will be joined by Liam Lysaght, Director of the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Dr Robert Wilkes - a Scientific Officer at the Environmental Protection Agency and award-winning nature photographer, Tina Claffey.

Liam will talk about how citizen science can help track change in Ireland’s biodiversity. Robert will describe the work of the Environmental Protection Agency in monitoring seaweeds and seagrasses for the Water Framework Directive and Tina will talk and show photographs of the "macro treasures of our bogs and wetlands".

We have recommendations this month for several documentaries and series that you can watch online for free. First up is Back from the Brink in which Derek Mooney presents inspirational conservation stories from across Europe, including a team monitoring the roseate terns on Rockabill Island off the coast of County Dublin. You can explore numerous episodes dealing with various aspects of biodiversity from the ongoing Eco Eye series by Earth Horizon Productions and the Netflix series, Our Planet, is now available for free on YouTube. We will send links in your registration email.

Liam Lysaght is Director of the National Biodiversity Data Centre, an organisation that collates and manages data on Irish wildlife. Liam is one of the most experienced conservationists in Ireland, working in the area for 30 years. In addition to heading up the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Liam is Head of Delegation for Ireland to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, a global informatics network of 95 partner organisations working to deliver scientific data to meet global conservation policy needs. Liam is very familiar with the environmental-policy aspects of agriculture and forestry having worked with the Heritage Council providing independent heritage policy advice to the Government. Prior to that, Liam worked as a Park Ranger in the Burren National Park and so is familiar with protected-area and habitat-management issues.

Dr Robert Wilkes studied Marine Science at NUI Galway where he started working with marine algae. After working in the US for a number of years on seaweed aquaculture, Robert returned to Galway to pursue a PhD. He joined the Environmental Protection Agency in 2005 and established a new monitoring programme for marine algae and angiosperms which now forms the basis of Ireland’s Water Framework Directive marine plant assessments.

Tina Claffey is an award-winning Irish nature photographer and author of Tapestry of Light - Ireland's bogs & wetlands as never seen before' published in 2017. Tina's observations and unique perspective of the flora and fauna of the raised bogs and wet woodlands of the Irish midlands are celebrated in her work. Tina specialises in close up macro photography which captures this ancient wilderness in a unique way, seeing beyond what the human eye is capable of. Tina has exhibited in New York, San Francisco, Botswana, Zambia and throughout Ireland.

The cover photo is Emerging Sundew by Tina Claffey.

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