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Explore the Shore: Seaweeds of inner Bantry Bay

Explore the Shore: Seaweeds of inner Bantry Bay

Clare Heardman
Ellen Hutchins Festival

Ellen Hutchins (1785-1815), Ireland’s first female botanist, was born in Ballylickey, West Cork, and seaweeds were one of her specialities.

This Ellen Hutchins Festival project involves the production of family-friendly resources enabling people to explore, understand and therefore respect and protect seaweeds and the natural heritage of the shores of inner Bantry Bay.

A leaflet and a booklet suitable for self-guided explorations have been developed from the experience of introducing people of all ages to the wonders of seaweeds through events on Whiddy Island and at Adrigole Harbour. Held as part of the Ellen Hutchins Festival in Heritage Week since 2015, they bring people from all generations together onto the shore to explore the seaweeds. People learn how to preserve seaweed specimens, use a hand lens, identify different species and use them nutritionally.

Arising from the seaweed events, Clare Heardman (NPWS and festival co-organiser) worked with Cork-based aquatic biologist Frances Gallagher and local graphic designer Jenny Dempsey, to produce two introductory seaweed guides to inner Bantry Bay:
i) A colourful Mini Guide to Seaweeds, a free fold-out leaflet aimed at families
ii) An Introduction to Seaweeds booklet (36-page, A5), taking the topic further, and including an historical perspective.

High quality photographs are an important element, as well as hand drawn and painted diagrams. The Festival commissioned a seaweed painting from award-winning botanical artist, Shevaun Doherty, for the booklet’s cover.

A short film, Ellen Hutchins, Bantry Bay’s Botanist, made in 2018, is included in the suite of resources.

Ellen Hutchins: Bantry's Botanist

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