Local communities and volunteer organisations like the Community Wetlands Forum, with the support of other organisations, are voluntary stewards of our wetland resources. The model of community engagement adopted by the Forum promotes positive relationships, implementing local solutions and is a link between public authorities and individuals in the on-going sustainable management of natural heritage sites. It is a powerful model with the ability to change perceptions, educate and inform others of the many benefits that conservation can bring.
President Michael D Higgins, Abbeyleix bog – 25 May 2017
The Drummin Bog committee were excited recently to be invited through the Irish Community Wetlands Forum to send a representative to the President of Ireland’s Picnic event at Áras an Uachtaráin – the Irish President’s house. Thanks to Chris Uys of CWF, for sending us the invitation!.
At this picnic for voluntary organisations, the Irish President, Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina wished to acknowledge the work being undertaken by the many organisations
‘fostering and developing strong rural communities throught the villages and towns of Ireland […] who are central to the fabric of sustainable living across the island of Ireland’.
Cathy Fitzgerald, one of the artists working for the Drummin Bog project, and who recently advised an eco-social art framework for the successful Creative Irelad An Fraughan eco-art school programme, attended on behalf of the committee.
Attendees were treated to a tour of the Aras and a 2h Irish Country Music event and picnic. Right through the President’s house were reminders of Michael and Sabina’s key advocacy for the UN sustainable development goals.
Cathy said the President and his wife Sabina organised a terrific night and there was fantastic enthusiasm for the stars of Irish Country music that performed – Sabina was the first up dancing and many got up to join her!! Michael and Sabina’s two dogs were also incredible ambassadors for a very warm welcome and celebration.
The most moving performance of the night was from legendary Irish singer/songwriter Pete St. John who previously penned one of Ireland’s most beloved songs ‘The Fields of Anthenry’. Pete, now in his 90s, sang for the first time in 40 years with a new song ‘ Waltzing on Borrowed Time’ – all about the important message to engage people in thinking about how to protect our precious Earth. Cathy was able to capture Pete singing this beautiful new song from the aisle on her phone (see below) – somehow this old time waltz perfectly connects old-time, more simple-living values to an urgent message for us all – watch to the end to see President Michael D Higgins’ congratualate his old friend.
And very briefly, Cathy was able to present the new poster from the Creative Ireland Drummin Bog An Fraughan schools project to Michael D too. A small community wetlands project in South Carlow has travelled far already!