Our days are brighter, our weather milder, there is a discernible stretch in the evenings and the birds are back singing their dawn chorus at 6am. It is undeniable, spring is back again, and its return has never been more welcome.
After the colder, darker winter months the desire to spend as much time as possible outside is strong, and with it an eagerness to discover new outdoor hobbies. As such, here are three activities you might consider taking up this spring:
Spring Flowering Plants Project
The National Biodiversity Data Centre is a national centre for the collection, collation, management, analysis and dissemination of data on Ireland’s biological diversity. Biodiversity data are a key requirement for understanding our natural surroundings, for tracking change in our environment and for gaining a greater insight on how we benefit from, and impact upon, the ecosystem goods and services provided by biological diversity.
Established in 2017, the Spring Flowering Plants Project encourages people to record their observations of early-flowering species that can be otherwise lacking in data but like all recording, is valuable as it contributes to furthering plant conservation in Ireland. The Project is seeking records for 20 very distinctive, easily identifiable wildflowers, making it a perfect way for those new to recording to get involved. Members of the public can take part through Ireland’s Citizen Science Portal and help to further plant conservation in Ireland:
If monitoring wildflowers isn’t for you, the National Biodiversity Data Centre also have several monitoring projects to support and become involved in:
Since swimming pools were closed 12 months ago, outdoor swimming, and in particular sea swimming, has seen a dramatic boost in popularity here in Ireland. The reported advantages are numerous, with advocates for the activity citing its endorphin-boosting benefits, an improved sense of wellbeing, and the growing sense of community they feel with their fellow swimmers. In a time of uncertainty and social-distancing, outdoor swimming has become a useful hobby to help people improve their mood, incorporate exercise into their routines and connect with others.
Popular sea swimming spots in Dublin Bay include Bull Island, Killiney, Low Rock in Malahide, and the Forty Foot.
Some key tips to remember when outdoor swimming;
· Never go by yourself, make sure you go with a swimming partner or a group. Not only is this important for water safety, but having company can help keeping you accountable if you’re hoping to make sea swimming a regular part of your routine.
· Go when the sea is calm and always know where you’re going to get in and out safely.
· Find places where you can walk in at your own pace and be careful not to swim too far out.
Click the link below for a comprehensive list of safety guidelines and advice.
Yoga is another activity that saw a boost in interest over the past year, with instructors nationwide pivoting to live online classes and recordings. If indoor yoga is something you enjoy, then outdoor yoga might be something to consider as the weather improves.
While online classes have been key in helping people develop a yoga practice and mindset, outdoor yoga gives participants a chance to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature. It is a great activity to help you slow down and pause, check in with yourself, and raise awareness of your surroundings.
Some things to bear in mind while practising yoga outdoors:
· Check the area before practicing and make sure it’s clear of any sharp debris, such as broken glass, wire, or rocks. Similarly, be aware of any plant life that could be irritating or provoke an allergic reaction should a gust of wind send leaves, grass clippings or litter flying into you.
· Check a local weather app for information about air quality, seasonal allergens, wind levels and potential rainfall. This can help prepare for an undisturbed practice.
· Remember to consider sun protection. This can be by covering up, using a good sunscreen or finding a suitable shady spot.
While gatherings have been paused, outdoor yoga can still be practised in the comfort of your own garden or in a local park while social-distancing with a friend.
We’re sad to say that Aoife has decided to focus her energy into other projects. We’d like to put on record our thanks to Aoife for sharing her love and passion for the Dublin Bay Biosphere and for helping us to stay conected to nature and remaining active during the pandemic.
Best of luck Aoife in all your future endeavours!