Sep 19, 2017

Learning About the Birds and the Bees with Zoo Soc and the Phil

Today, the Phil took a break from debating to learn about biodiversity with Zoo Soc.

Niamh HerbertDeputy Societies Editor
Guy Boggan for The University Times

This afternoon, the University Philosophical Society (the Phil) and Zoo Soc held an interactive and informative event in the Phil’s Conversation Room in the Graduates Memorial Building (GMB). The event, Urban Conservation, aimed to promote and provide information on the birds and the bees in Ireland, and how we can help to care for them. As well as the informative section, there was also the opportunity to build a birdhouse to take away and continue the good work at home. Daniel Dunleavy and Jessica Beresford of Zoo Soc led the event and shared their expertise on the issue.

The event began with an educational talk that gave the people in attendance an overview of some of the biodiversity around us in Dublin and other urban areas. Jessica Beresford first offered a definition of biodiversity (“the variety of plant and animal life in the world or in a particular habitat”) and an explanation of how simple it is to get involved and how anyone can get involved in related practices like urban farming.

Dunleavy then went on to discusses the issue of bees in the modern world and shared some facts about bees in Ireland. Amazingly, bees in Ireland contribute almost €53 million annually to the country’s economy. There is only one out of 97 species of bee in Ireland make honey, while the rest pollinate. Conserving bees is everyone’s responsibility, and everyone has an interest in whether or not the bee situation improves.


Supporting just how important bees are in Ireland, Dunleavy gave mention to the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015 – 2020, a strategy set in place to rebuild declining pollination service. It lists different ways that the average individual can do their bit to help conserve and protect the bees and pollination services.

The interactive portion of the workshop consisted of everyone in attendance getting the chance to build their own birdhouses. All tools, materials and instructions required were handed out by the Zoo Soc members. The hammering began, and by the end of the hour there were seven complete, hand-made birdhouses.

Speaking to the Phil’s steward, Conor Nevin, before the event, he told The University Times why the Phil, typically known as “a debating society”, had decided to team up with Zoo Soc for this event. “Not all the most productive conversations are arguments and I think it’s important to further our knowledge on topics like this”, he said. He explained how the members of the Phil can benefit from this collaboration as “discourse and discussion isn’t always combative, and there isn’t always two sides to a topic, sometimes it’s just good to learn about something we can all agree is good, like nature!”

As the event ended, both Dunleavy and Nevin expressed their gratitude to each other for helping to organise the event. “The way I see it”, Nevin told The University Times by email, “both societies benefit from collaborations, and members get to try fun new things that are outside the repetitive formula of debating”.

If you missed out on this event and still want to get involved with Zoo Soc, they’ll be hosting animal handling tomorrow at 12, as well as similar events throughout the year.

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