Laois nature is good for you!

Gardening for Biodiversity book and colouring book relaunched with an online workshop

Leinster Express Reporter

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Laois nature is good for you!

Anna and Sarah Rothwell enjoying the early spring wildlife in the garden.

The Heritage Office of Laois County Council has launched a campaign to help get people connected with nature, as part of the Government’s “Keep Well” Campaign.

The campaign starts with an online Gardening for Biodiversity workshop on Thursday, February 18, the relaunch of the Gardening for Biodiversity book and will continue in March with a new “Spring into Heritage” activity sheet in English and Irish and the launch of a new nature podcast in partnership with BirdWatch Ireland.

Catherine Casey is Heritage Officer with Laois County Council.

“Being outdoors has huge benefits for our mental and physical health, especially during this difficult time. A connection with nature contributes to lower levels of anxiety and stress and taking action to help nature makes us feel good, helps fight biodiversity loss and address the impacts of climate change.

“There are plenty of simple things that we can all do to help nature in our gardens this spring. We know from an increase in enquiries that many people are taking a great interest in the birds, bees and bugs that are visiting their gardens. We hope that this guide will help anyone who has the time and interest now to make their garden a haven for wildlife," she said.

The book “Gardening for Biodiversity” which was launched in 2020 has been reprinted and copies are now available for free from Laois County Council. A partner publication with wildlife information for children and colouring pages featuring the beautiful illustrations from the original book by Barry Reynolds is also available. MORE BELOW PICTURE OF Juanita Browne

Online Gardening for Wildlife Workshop

The launch will be marked by a special free online workshop with author Juanita Browne on Thursday February 18th at 8pm, which will look at some practical projects people can start in their own gardens. Award-winning author Juanita Browne will have projects to help wildlife of all kinds under a range of headings, with tasks suitable for everyone from the total beginner to the more ambitious DIY enthusiast.

The events will be streamed live on the Laois Heritage Forum Facebook page so there is no need to book, just click on www.facebook.com/laois. heritage.forum at 8pm on Thursday February 18th. Questions can be posed in advance to heritage@laoiscoco.ie or using the comments on the Facebook stream on the night.

Juanita Browne said “Over the last 12 months, I think we’ve all developed a greater appreciation of nature; and time spend outdoors has helped to keep us going through difficult times. It has actually been proven that the more ‘biodiverse’ an area is (i.e. the greater variety of wild plants and animals in an area) the more beneficial it is to human health to spend time there. So it makes sense to try to invite more biodiversity into your garden, whether you want to attract garden birds; or grow plants that will help visiting bees and butterflies. It’s good for your local wildlife, but all these interactions are good for you, too!’

Gardening for Biodiversity was produced with funding by The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage through the National Parks and Wildlife Service’s National Biodiversity Action Plan Fund, supported by the Heritage Council and the Local Authority Heritage Officer Network.

The reprint was funded by the Keep Well Campaign, with thanks to Healthy Ireland, an initiative of the Government of Ireland with funding from the Healthy Ireland Fund and Sláintecare delivered by Pobal, administered by Laois County Council.

The book and colouring book are available for free from Laois County Council, by emailing heritage@laoiscoco.ie and also available to download at www.laois.ie/heritage.