17 January, students from Maria King Presentation School, Limerick City, held their School Based Workshop, with LEAF Education Officer Ray Foley.

The school selected Forests & Biodiversity as their LEAF Theme. The focus of the day was on a number of native Irish tree species, primarily willow, alder and hazel.  The class group examined the habitats each tree is typically found in, from the well drained hazel supporting soils of the Burren to the damp edges of rivers and bogs where alder and willow thrive. The students then examined the species that would typically occur on each species, from lichens and mosses, right up to seasonal birds like the Willow Warbler.


Finally, students examined where trees fit into the ecological web. This point was highlighted by examining the positive chain reaction in areas where native tree habitats have been restored. The students were fascinated by stories from Yellowstone National Park, where aspen and willow populations thrived after a reduction in Elk numbers. They were gripped by the fact that five hundred Amur tigers survive, primarily in eastern Russia’s birch forests, similar to our native birch.

The students are really looking forward to their Forest Based Workshop in May.