UNESCO Light Bellied Brent Goose Ambassadors
Over the past 3 years the pupils in 4th class, together with their class teachers & SNAs, have taken up the challenge of being UNESCO Brent Goose Ambassadors. The Ambassadors are certified by the office of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Dublin City Council Parks and Landscapes Services and Birdwatch Ireland. The project is closely aligned with educational curricular outcomes and also aligned to Global Development Goals and UNESCO principles.
The role of the Brent Goose Ambassador is to :
- raise awareness of the geese among family and friends,
- practise and promote good behaviour when encountering the geese and other wildlife
- recognise and promote the Dublin Bay Biosphere as an integral part of their city
Each year the pupils are invited to participate in the project and they commit to :
- undertake a study of the Brent Goose and learn about its incredible migratory journey from Canada to Ireland and back
- observe and study the goose in its outdoor environment in Ballyfermot and on Bull Island.
The Light Bellied Brent Goose is one of Dublin’s most iconic wintering bird species. They are a protected species under wildlife legislation. The world population of Light Bellied Brent Geese is approx. 35-40,000 and ¾ of these birds winter in Ireland.
The geese come from the Canadian High Arctic to Bull Island each Autumn in October and stay until late March. After their long journey they rest and gobble up the eel grass (Zostera) and green algae on the mudflats and marshes in the Dublin Bay biosphere.
In January they are regularly seen grazing on some playing pitches, open spaces and in city parks. The supply of eel grass available on Bull Island and Dollymount Strand has been depleted, so they move further inland to feed. The Geese are often seen in the local parks -Glenaulin/ The Gaels and Le Fanu/ The Lawns.
If they are disturbed while feeding by walkers or dogs on or off the lead they become stressed, they may fly away and can lose the fat reserves in their bodies. This affects their ability to fly back the 4,500 km journey to the High Arctic where they breed and produce the next generation of geese. To date we have enrolled approximately 130 girls as Ambassadors. These girls activate their friends, family and community to become involved in actions to protect the geese and their environments. The first Ambassadors have now moved into secondary school. This year we will enroll 32 more 4th class girls.
The pupils and teachers enjoyed the project immensely. The girls had great fun and they loved the field trips to Bull Island and to the local park. We hope people will be motivated by our ambassadors to protect the geese.