independent

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Carrig-on-Bannow based artist wants to create a buzz about biodiversity

Mark’s ‘Missing’ posters, as seen on Wexford beaches
Mark’s ‘Missing’ posters, as seen on Wexford beaches

Maria Pepper

Interested members of the public are invited to attend free biodiversity events taking place in Tintern Abbey and Baginbun Beach including a Wild Food Walk and a Foraging Picnic.

The events are part of an art and biodiversity project called An Urgent Enquiry which involves three resident artists working simultaneously over the summer months in Wexford, Fingal and Dublin, supported by the local authorities in each area as well as the Arts Council.

Artist Mark Clare is based in Carrig-on--Bannow and is exploring art and biodiversity, with a reference to climate change, along the Wexford coastline. As part of his residency, he is providing free workshops for the general public, in phytoplankton and woodland and coastal foraging, led by invited experts.

Using a solitary bee as a metaphor, Mark is exploring environmental issues such as habitat loss, disturbance, insect decline, pollution and climate change. He is also interested in highlighting the importance of Phytoplankton found in the seas which produce over 40% of the world's oxygen.

The artist has made a series of 'Missing' posters which can currently be seen on all blue and green flag beaches in Wexford, with information highlighting the endangered bee called Osmia aurulenta (Gold-Fringed Mason Bee) that lives along the south and south east coast.

The bee is restricted to sand dunes and nests only in empty snail shells. People are urged not to disturb them or to remove shells.

A Seaweed Forage and Picnic will take place at Baginbun Beach from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 6, consisting of a guided walk by Sea Gardener Marie Power, along the shore at low tide, focusing on a range of edible seaweeds and the ecology of the rocky shore.

Marie will show participants how to forage the tastiest varieties and incorporate them into their cooking, to enjoy the distinctive taste and health benefits.

A small amount of seaweed will be gathered and sampled as part of a picnic that will include other products such as smoothies, bread and soups that also incorporate seaweed.

Marie Power is based in Waterford and runs regular foraging workshops along the Copper Coast beaches. She has a diploma in field ecology from University College Cork.

A Wild Food Walk led by Dermot Hughes of Forage Ireland will take place around the grounds of Tintern Abbey in Saltmills, New Ross on Saturday, July 13 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Dermot founded Forage Ireland with his late wife Mary to encourage people to live better lives in tune with nature and the earth. He will show participants how to identify a variety of edible leaves, flowers and fruits growing wild in the surrounding woods and fields.

Both events are limited to 20 places. To register, contact mark.clare@gmail.com. A phytoplankton workshop called The Little Things Matter was held in Kilmore Quay last weekend with people collecting samples of marine and freshwater phytoplankton and examining them to better understand the supportive roles these unseen plants play in our ecosystem. That workshop was led by Lorraine Archer, a University of Cambridge Phycologist specialising in taxonomic and molecular skills for the identification of marine phytoplankton and freshwater micro-algae.

Wexford People

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