Make a switch for nature this National Biodiversity Week, with ten ideas from Heritage Officers

This is National Biodiversity Week.  Every day we depend on biodiversity.        

Biodiversity or nature is all about us.  Everything we rely on is provided by nature. Biodiversity is the variety of life on the planet, how it interacts with the natural water cycles and climate to create ecosystems that provide habitats, and ecosystem goods and services.  Goods like timber, healthy soil, raw materials for clothing, food, medicines – everything.  Services like carbon sequestration, water filtration, pollination.

Catherine Casey, Heritage Officer with Laois County Council said “Take a first step and connect with the wonder of the nature this Biodiversity week.  Find a quiet spot and listen to the sounds of nature about you.  This is the sound of nature supporting your life”.

International Biodiversity Day is Saturday 22nd May and the theme this year is “We are part of the solution for Nature”. There are some simple switches that can be made that will set us on that pathway.  Always the best place to start is where we can have the most influence, and for most of us that is our own homes and gardens.

Here are ten SWITCHES you can make for nature right now:

  1. Switch peat moss or compost with peat for PEAT-FREE COMPOST. Ask your garden centre. Or make your own compost. This will help protect our valuable bogs, which are vital for carbon capture and nature.
  2. Switch your weekly mow to LET YOUR GRASS GROW. Leave an extra margin around the edge of your lawn and cut it every 3-6 weeks, to provide shelter and food for pollinators. #NoMowMay
  3. Switch tap water in your watering can to WATER FROM A WATER BUTT. Rainwater collected from your roof is a good way to re-use water and be more economical with treated water.
  4. Switch some of your lawn for a POND OR RAIN GARDEN – all our wildlife needs water and it’s amazing how much wildlife even a tiny pond can attract..
  5. Switch pesticides for NATURAL PEST CONTROL AND COMPANION PLANTING. (Carrot fly is distracted by the smell of rosemary and thyme, plant marigolds or lady’s mantle close to tomatoes, nasturtium beside broad beans). Encourage ladybirds to your garden to eat greenfly.
  6. Switch chemical fertiliser for NETTLE OR COMFREY FERTILISER. This is made by soaking the plants in water for a few weeks and then diluting the resultant liquid with water. Areas of nettles and comfrey are super for pollinators – bees and butterflies, so a patch has additional biodiversity benefits.
  7. Switch cutting hedges at waist height to LETTING HAWTHORN HEDGES GROW TALL AND BLOSSOM. This is vital for pollinators and will bring a wonderful sight and smell to your garden.
  8. Switch tidying up to BUILDING A LOG PILE. These are great spots for hedgehogs, bugs and beetles. The garden is not a place for Marie Kondo’s house tidying approach! Check out the Gardening for Biodiversity video series for tips
  9. Switch planting the same plants everywhere to PLANTING VARIETY. This will protect your garden from being overrun with any one pest or disease and bring more wildlife to your place.
  10. Switch social distance for HUGGING A TREE !


The popular GARDENING FOR BIODIVERSITY booklet and colouring book are still available – click below to download, along with a Pledge your Garden for Pollinators leaflet.  These wonderful publications are full of fantastic ideas for your garden. The Garden Birds poster produced in association with BirdWatch Ireland shows you the huge wealth of birds you might attract to your garden.

Click the images to download the publications

Gardening For Biodiversity Cover                   



The Local Authority Heritage Officer Network is the collection of heritage officers located nationwide, in most counties and local authorities.  The Heritage Office programme is supported by the local authorities and the Heritage Council.  Heritage Officers advocate for the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, through the implementation of biodiversity and heritage plans, working with communities through local government.


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