Connecting to nature is a trend worth following

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Posted on: 9th June, 2017

Category: Home, Garden & Environment

Contributor: West Cork People

Thomas Riedmuller is one of the founders of The Hollies Centre of Sustainability

When I listened to the radio recently I heard about a shocking trend among young people – according to Dublin City University, just one in ten Irish teens have properly developed fundamental movement skills  that they should have mastered by the age of six, such as running or kicking a ball. The American author Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in modern lives to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression – he calls it Nature Deficit Disorder.

If you connect those ‘dots’  you might wonder what could help. My recipe is spending time outdoors and interacting with the natural world. Outdoor sports can go a long way. Apart from that, I find a lot of enjoyment in learning about plants you can eat and use to make simple remedies…there is so much food for free out there. And then, looking after your own plants, even if it is only a small container garden in an urban back yard, can bring a lot of joy and sanity into otherwise stressful lives. I remember living in an ugly urban environment years ago. Learning to identify all the little plants that still manage to break through the concrete helped me to keep my sanity and maintain a strong level of connection to nature that many people don’t even know that they are missing.hollies 2 hollies

At The Hollies Centre for Sustainability a team of us have created gardens, woodlands, ponds and an array of buildings made entirely from local and natural materials. In some of these woodlands children are being facilitated in so-called forest school activities…crafts and games that allow them to be active and outdoors in a safe way.

While it is important to allow children to experience the natural world that feeds and nourishes us all, adults have the same needs of ‘recharging our batteries’ with earth, wind, sun and rain.

‘Nature Connection’  is  a new series of activities at The Hollies Centre. One in each season they are designed to help adults to gain a renewed sense of aliveness and healing. The next opportunity to join in is on July 2.

An initiative called ‘Mucky Boots’ homes in on the importance for children to have space to be wild. On June 10, an event called ‘Sticks and Stones’ highlights that natural objects need to be reclaimed for their beneficial effects rather than being connected to fears. With a bit of guidance, it is safe to be wild. More than that, it is essential for your health. Between July 3 and 6 this experience will be offered to seven-12-year-olds as a summer camp. A family camp is scheduled from July 21 to 23, with activities ranging from basket weaving to spending time with horses, fireside fun and foraging.

You might look at ‘natural play’ as a term that describes the way we used to play in the not-so-distant past – using existing features and changing natural objects and unused items into play features.

A West Cork-based team of people called Silva Build are taking this to the professional level designing and building playscapes in schools and other public places up and down the country. On June 24, they’ll teach a one-day workshop at The Hollies Centre about Building Natural Play-Scapes.

I’ve decided to be part of the new trend that promotes health by reconnecting with the natural world. Minimum time in front of screens, maximum time out of doors. Which trend do you want to be part of?

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11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at or text at 086/0476124.
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26th September, 2017  ·  

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