Biodiversity with Patrick

Biodiversity with Patrick

Patrick Hunt came to visit us last week. He taught us all about the plants and wildlife that can be found on our school grounds.

The meadow was particularly interesting. While it doesn’t look very pretty at this time of year it is serving a very important purpose and is doing a great job at increasing biodiversity around our school.

These are the seeds of the yellow rattle plant. It had lovely yellow flowers in the late spring and early summer. It is called yellow rattle because of the colour of its flowers, but also because when the seeds dry out you can hear them rattle in their seed pods. We are allowing the seeds to naturally drop from the pods so that more plants can grow next spring.

This is the leaf of the sycamore tree. We learned that the black spot on the leaf is called a tar spot. It is actually a fungus which indicates good air quality.

This is a spear leaved plantain; it can be found growing in the grass of our meadow. We saw aphids on the leaves.

This is a hazel tree. We have two growing in our meadow. The leaves feel soft and fuzzy. We found the empty shells of some hazelnuts under the tree. This tells us that we have squirrels in our locality and they have been busy eating our hazelnuts.

Here you can see the leaves and berries of the hawthorn tree. The berries are called haws. They are an important food for our birds. The hawthorn tree is also known as the fairy tree. It is said to be the meeting place of the fairies. It is a very important tree in Ireland and people say it is very bad luck to cut one down.

This is the dock plant. Some people call it the doctor plant because you can apply the leaves to your skin to sooth a nettle sting. It is looking brown here because it has gone to seed. The seeds of the plant will drop on the soil and more plants will grow in the spring. We also found dock leaves with holes in them. They are an important food for caterpillars. An interesting fact about the dock plant is that the roots can be three metres deep. That’s about the height of our school! These roots help to make the soil fertile, they bring nutrients to the surface and make the soil less compacted.

If you look closely, you can see a harvestman in our hands. He looks like a spider but is not. This is because he only has one body part.  We found lots of them in our meadow and garden.

We look forward to learning more about nature soon!