Families set to enjoy a wild summer at Bog Meadows

Families can go wild with pond-dipping and wildlife safaris at Bog Meadows Nature Reserve this summer – some of the many free activities organised as part of Ulster Wildlife’s ‘Summer of Wildlife’ events programme Families can go wild with pond-dipping and wildlife safaris at Bog Meadows Nature Reserve this summer – some of the many free activities organised as part of Ulster Wildlife’s ‘Summer of Wildlife’ events programme
By Brónach Ní Thuama

Get closer to your extraordinary wild neighbours this summer with a whole host of free activities at Bog Meadows Nature Reserve, designed to excite and inspire kids and their families.

From bat walks and bushcraft to wildlife safaris and wild at art workshops, Ulster Wildlife’s special ‘Summer of Wildlife’ kicks off on May 26 and runs until August 26.

Discover a host of weird and wonderful creatures that swim, fly and crawl around this urban oasis on safari. Meet some of your feathered neighbours on a guided walk, with local bird expert Aidan Crean, or try your hand at bat detecting at dusk.

If your kids are creative, they can make their own wildlife-inspired creatures by taking part in an art workshop or, if they fancy themselves as the next Bear Grylls, they can learn about survival in the great outdoors – from creating a shelter to cooking their own bush tucker.

A jam-packed Wild Summer Fun Day on August 26 will bring the programme to a close and is guaranteed to be a fantastic day out for all the family. Children can meet farm animals, birds of prey and sea creatures, plus there will be face painting, entertainment, and much more.

Deborah McLaughlin, Nature Reserves Officer with Ulster Wildlife, said: “Bog Meadows is an important wildlife haven and valuable community asset, but like many other urban nature reserves it sometimes suffers from the effects of anti-social behaviour.

“Our Summer of Wildlife events aim to provide fun, positive activities within the nature reserve and to enable everyone in the local community to experience and enjoy nature on their doorstep and feel safer in doing so. All the activities are free, so we hope many people will come along.”

Cllr Brian Heading, Chair of West Belfast District Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP), says: “We aim to create safer, shared communities and are pleased to support this project by Ulster Wildlife.  Our small grants fund projects prevent, reduce and address community safety issues and help people feel safer. Small grants are the perfect way for us to support community and voluntary groups at a local level and to help build relationships between community voluntary groups and PCSPs.”

Breige Brownlee, Chair of St James’ Forum, added: “On behalf of the residents of Greater St James’, I applaud this exciting programme of events and would encourage everyone, young and old, to get involved and show their support.”

As places are limited, booking is required for all events, except the Wild Summer Fun Day. Contact Ulster Wildlife on 028 9045 4094 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.  Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

To find out all about the Summer of Wildlife events at Bog Meadows, visit www.ulsterwildlife.org/whats-on

These events are funded by the West DPCSP through Belfast City Council.

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