Young farmers dip below the waves with Grassroots Challenge

Wednesday 2nd August 2017

YFCU- Snorkel SafariYFCU - Snorkel Safari

Young farmers from across Northern Ireland discovered more about Northern Ireland’s fascinating marine life recently on their first ever YFCU Snorkel Safari.

Young farmers from Ballywalter, Lylehill, Killinchy and Collone met at the Coastal Zone, Portrush for the event which was organised as part of Ulster Wildlife’s Grassroots Challenge project.

The Grassroots Challenge aims to inspire young people to take action for the environment within their local communities, thanks to National Lottery players.

Everyone was kitted out with gear: wetsuits, hoods, fins and snorkel masks. Ulster Wildlife’s Living Seas Officer, Dave Wall, gave a safety demonstration and an overview of some of the exciting marine creatures the young farmers might find from blood red beadlet anemones and star fish to crabs.

Despite the choppy waters, the young farmers saw an array of marine life from underwater forests of kelp - a type of large brown seaweed which provides a crucial habitat for thousands of sea creatures – to dazzling blue rayed limpets, which are easily identified by their translucent amber shell with brilliant blue spots running in lines across the top of the shell.

Shona Campbell, Grassroots Challenge Officer with Ulster Wildlife said, “Many young people don’t realise just how amazing Northern Ireland’s marine life is, with 50% of our biodiversity found within our waters.From colour changing cuttlefish to basking sharks, our marine life is truly inspiring. We hope events like this, will help young farmers appreciate this valuable resource, and encourage them to undertake projects, such as beach cleans, to help protect it.”

The event concluded with a BBQ, washed down with tea, coffee and plenty of cookies.

If you would like to get involved with the Grassroots Challenge contact: Londonderry, Antrim and Down clubs: shona.campbell@ulsterwildlife.org. Fermanagh, Tyrone and Armagh clubs: andrew.gracey@ulsterwildlife.org

Find out more about the Grassroots Challenge

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