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Claire Ferry, Senior Conservation Officer, RSPB, has begun a Northern Irish odyssey as she sets off on a six-week journey on foot around Northern Ireland. This intrepid individual will attempt to cover over 500 miles, to promote the importance of our environment, as well as raise much needed money for three international environmental organisations.

Entitled LoveNatureWalk NI, the journey will take her to every RSPB reserve here, and highlights will include canoeing around the North Down coast with students from Glenlola College, going down to Kilkeel to visit fishing fleets there, taking in a play about whooper swans on the Foyle Polders and being on Rathlin Island on World Oceans’ Day. The final leg of her journey will see her walk with nearly 100 children up the Stormont Mile with a life-sized basking shark sculpture to hand in a petition for a Marine Bill in Northern Ireland.

“When you have worked in the RSPB for seven years, you get a month to do a sabbatical,” explained Claire, “and I wanted to do something local with a low carbon footprint. I am an avid walker, so what better way to see the country than on foot, while bringing along some important messages about the environment at the same time?”

Part of Claire’s trip will involve storytelling, as she collects folktales, myths and legends about people’s past relationship to the land and sea.

“Northern Ireland is full of stories about wildlife, like the Children of Lir, who lived on the Sea of Moyle (Rathlin Island), as well as creatures of the land and sea like selkies and fairies,” she explained, “I thought it would be a nice gift to bring to the community I was meeting, an exchange of stories during my trip.”

There is also a serious environmental side of Claire’s trip as well, which will entail raising awareness of the fragility of our the state of our seas.

“Northern Ireland desperately needs a Marine Bill which asks for a single-body looking after our coastal waters and a network of Marine Protected Areas to ensure that the best bits are not damaged or destroyed. School children around the country are signing a petition for the Bill and we will take it to Stormont at the end of the walk.”

Claire hopes to raise £5,000 for RSPB Northern Ireland, the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds and Eco-friendly Volunteers in Sri Lanka. To follow Claire as well as to donate to her trip, you can go to the following websites:





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