Press Release: Ireland's National Biodiversity Week 2017 launches with 50 FREE events taking place all across Ireland

For Immediate Release
The Irish Environmental Network is delighted to announce the launch of Ireland’s National Biodiversity Week, which will take place from the 19th – 28th May 2017.
Over the course of nine days, over 50 free events will take place all across the country, celebrating Ireland’s diverse species and natural habitats.
From bat walks and urban beekeeping to whale watching and eco-village tours, there is no shortage of activities to entertain the whole family.
All events are free of charge, and most are suitable for children.
National Biodiversity Week is all about encouraging people to get outdoors, connect with nature and celebrate the extraordinary variety of flora, fauna and habitats on our doorsteps.
National Biodiversity Week is organised by the Irish Environmental Network (IEN) and is supported by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The IEN is an umbrella network of 30 national environmental NGOs that work to protect and enhance the environment.
Michael Ewing, IEN Coordinator, said:
“National Biodiversity Week is about making it fun and easy to be among nature. The events are all free and led by wildlife experts so I really encourage everyone to get involved.
“Often we don’t have the time, the opportunity or perhaps the confidence to explore our natural surroundings as much as we’d likes so this is a great opportunity to get out explore the variety of the natural world around you.
“National Biodiversity Week provides us with a great opportunity to learn more about our native plant and animal species, and also to find out how we as individuals and as communities can help to ensure the survival of our wildlife for future generations.
“It is all about connecting people with nature. It’s about communicating the importance of biodiversity and motivating people to play their part in protecting it.”

Flagship Events
Lough Hyne Moonlight Kayak
To celebrate the launch of National Biodiversity Week, the IEN is hosting a spectacular flagship event in West Cork on 17th May: a moonlight kayak to witness the astonishing bioluminescence on Lough Hyne, Europe’s first ever marine nature reserve.
Lough Hyne is a saltwater lake renowned for it’s extraordinarily rich biodiversity. The lough is home to phytoplankton which emit light at night called bioluminescence, bringing the water to life with pale blue lights.
It is one of the most studied slices of marine environment in the world and acts as the perfect location to launch National Biodiversity Week 2017.
The event will be led by Jim Kennedy of Atlantic Sea Kayaking, Ireland’s premier sea kayaking company. Jim is also an ambassador for Ireland Adventure Tourism with Fáilte Ireland.
Jim Kennedy, owner of Atlantic Sea Kayaking said:
“There is always something to make you gasp on the moonlight kayak trip, whether it be the silhouette of the seabirds on the bank, the red sunset, the whole panoply of stars overhead, the moonlight reflected on the water, or, at certain times of year, the astonishing bio-luminescence.
“This is a light emitted by marine life, which, from the paddler’s point of view, causes the water to light up around your paddle in 1,000 tiny lights.
“We are fortunate to enjoy one of the most beautiful marine environments in the world in which to plan and undertake our journeys.
“But we know that for others to enjoy this special place, we must respect and protect it, and carry out our work in such a way that we enhance, rather than harm or deplete, its sustainability and its beauty.
“Protecting the habitat means that we enjoy it at its most pristine and beautiful best, and we know that those coming after us will benefit from it as well.”
‘Go Wild in Galway 2017’
‘Go Wild in Galway’ is an action-packed weekend of wildlife activities taking place in Galway from the 20th – 21st May.
Over the course of two days, participants can enjoy walks, talks and workshops covering everything from bats, birds and otters to insects, cetaceans and plants. Early birds can also join a dawn chorus walk on Saturday morning to enjoy the glorious sounds of birdsong at sunrise.
All events are free, but booking is advised by emailing ‘Go Wild in Galway’ is organised by the Vincent Wildlife Trust in collaboration with Birdwatch Ireland, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, and the Irish Wildlife Trust.
For more details of our Flagship events, as well as the 50 other free events taking place around the country, visit where you will find an interactive map of activities taking place near you.
Bookings can be made by contacting the organisers of the individual events, details of which can be found in the event description.

Photo Competitions
As part of the National Biodiversity Week celebrations, the IEN is holding its annual ‘Biodiversity Photographer of the Year’ competition, inviting budding nature photographers to submit their best shots highlighting Ireland’s rich biodiversity.
There are two photo competitions under way for 2017.  The ‘Biodiversity Photographer of the Year’ competition is open to the general public, while the ‘Young Biodiversity Photographer of the Year’ competition is open to secondary school students.
There are cash prizes of up to €500 for winning entries.
All entries must be taken within the month of May 2017 and submitted via email to by midnight, 31st May. There is no limit to the number of entries participants can make.
Winning entries will be selected by Frank Miller, Picture Editor at the Irish Times.
An exhibition of winning photographs will take place in Dublin in June 2017.
For more information and T&C’s, see
A selection of previous winning photos is available here:

Notes for the Editor: 
What is Biodiversity:
‘Biodiversity’ refers to the variety of plant and animal life on Earth, and the relationships between them.
Biodiversity is essential for sustaining the natural living systems or ecosystems that provide us with food, clean water, health, wealth, and other services we take for granted in our everyday life. For more see
About National Biodiversity Week:
Over the course of nine days, from 19th – 28th May 2017, up to 50 FREE, family friendly events will be taking place all over Ireland celebrating our diverse species and habitats. Check our events section to see what’s taking place near you:
National Biodiversity Week is organised by the Irish Environmental Network (IEN) and is supported by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Photo Competitions: 
A selection of previous winning photos is available here:
About the Irish Environmental Network:
The Irish Environmental Network (IEN) is an umbrella network of 30 nationally active Irish Environmental NGOs that work individually and, as appropriate, jointly to protect and enhance the environment. The IEN supports its members by distributing core funding to member groups annually. For more see