Climate action and our Health

Niamh Shaw, Science Communicator in Residence at the Community Garden Abbeyleix 
Picture: Alf Harvey.

The very important issue of climate action links to the 2020 theme for Science Week of Choose our Future. While climate action might sometimes feel overwhelming and even cause some anxiety it is important that we try to find the middle ground and this starts with each one of us.

On last night’s #climateaction discussion with Dr. Niamh Shaw we learned about the topic of Climate action and our health, how to live more consciously and how if we can feel more connected to the environment, we may find more balance.
Prof Eric Morgan of Queen’s University Belfast spoke about the effects of climate change on animal health. We heard about the gift of nature and the power of healing in planting and the environment from Fr. Paddy Byrne and how we can achieve wonderful things through calmness, optimism and mother nature.
Eilish Fitzpatrick, of Blackhill Woods spoke about slowing our breathing and self-care and the ways in which we can all play our own individual roles in looking after our surrounding areas.
Midlands Science is delighted to be a partner to this local community project as part of Science Week as it really shows the impact an awareness of science can have on the choices we make.

Letting Nature have its way!

Each year, during the last week of August, local community organisations participate in National Heritage Week which is coordinated by The Heritage Council and its main aim is to promote awareness and facilitate education about our national and regional cultural heritage.

Midlands Science works closely with some of the heritage offices here in the Midlands and in particular we would like to thank Catherine Casey, Heritage Officer for Laois County Council who is always on hand to help us brainstorm new and innovative ideas and also to support and enable a number of Midlands Science Festival events to take place across Co. Laois.

This year National Heritage Week will be celebrating the diversity of Ireland’s nature. Over the past five years our own science festival has also tried to take on an element of encouraging people of all ages to get outside and experience science and nature for themselves. By getting organisations such as Waterways Ireland, Laois County Council, Irish Wildlife Trust and Clara Bog Visitors Centre on board we have been able to celebrate nature and all it has to offer while at the same time promoting the fact that science is all around us.

Best wishes to National Heritage Week. We are looking forward to junior nature photography competitions, some exciting discovery walks, bee keeping displays and a little bit of bird and bat watching!

Check out the programme for yourself on and find out what is happening in your local area from today and all week!

Letting Science Loose in Laois!

Ploughing1We are really looking forward to our line-up in Laois this year! The festival will take science out of the lab and into our libraries and primary school classrooms, giving people a variety of fun ways to explore and open up a multitude of ideas for a future career in science.

Catherine Casey, Heritage Officer with Laois County Council said, ‘Laois County Council is delighted to be associated with this year’s Midlands Science Festival. We had a little taste of what’s on offer when the ‘Junior Einsteins Science Club’ performed to packed audiences in the Laois tent at the Ploughing Championships recently. Science Week is a free, family-friendly, programme of events which allows people of all ages to discover something new, participate in a number of hands-on science and technology activities and see a whole host of live performances by science enthusiasts and communicators.’

This is the second year that a dedicated programme of free Science Week events is being rolled out in the counties of Laois, Offaly, Westmeath and Longford. It will bring together a large number of interested participants including entrepreneurs and researchers, science and technology speakers, science students and the general public from all over the Midlands.

In planning the programme, we have partnered with a number of schools and other regional organisations, such as Laois County Council, Abbeyleix Heritage House and Portlaoise Library to create opportunities which excite students about science and demonstrate how it connects to real life. It’s about creating greater interest in science education and careers which of course benefits the Midlands region.

Laois event highlights include an address by zoologist Seán Kelly of Trinity College Dublin on a new species of a colourful bird which has been discovered by a group of Irish students on the Wakatobi islands south of Sulawesi in Indonesia. We are delighted to welcome Seán to Abbeyleix Heritage House on November 10th to talk about what must be a once in a lifetime experience for any biologist– the discovery of a new species. Another public talk which will be of particular interest to students and members of the public who are interested in wildlife is ‘THE SILENCE OF THE TENRECS’, which will take place in Mountmellick Public Library on November 12th.The key speaker, Sive Finlay of Trinity College Dublin is another zoologist with a broad range of research interests in evolution, ecology, comparative biology & behavioural ecology. This public talk is a unique opportunity to learn about the science of wildlife research & conservation.

We also look forward to welcoming award-winning science writer , Mary Mulvihill of ‘Ingenious Ireland’ to Laois during the festival. Mary wants everyone to know that Ireland is not just a nation of writers – we also produced some of the world’s greatest scientists and engineers, and our ideas have helped to change the world. Mary runs popular science walking tours of Dublin, writes a science columnist for The Irish Times, and you can hear her speaking in Portlaoise Library on November 12th.

These are just some of the many locally produced and pre-booked workshops taking place but to find out how to book your free place for some of the other innovative events that will be happening in Laois and the wider region you can view a detailed listing on our Events section.