Friday, 5 February 2010

2010 International Year of Biodiversity

The United Nations has declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB). Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth. It includes the whole of the natural world and is essential for sustaining the natural living systems that provide us with food, fuel, health, wealth, and other vital services. Biodiversity enriches our lives in so many ways, that we often take it for granted. It has shaped our culture, our traditions and societies. It is the basis of economy and trade, it provides services essential to human well-being such as climate control, pollination, flood protection, and so many others. If the current loss of biodiversity continues, we will not only be poorer, in every sense of the word, but our very existence will be threatened.

We have the power to protect or destroy our biodiversity. Currently, our activities are destroying biodiversity at alarming rates. These losses are irreversible and damage the life support systems we rely on. But we can prevent them.
We need to reflect on our achievements to safeguard biodiversity and focus on the urgent challenges ahead.

Now is the time to act.
This year is your chance to learn more about the rich tapestry of life around you, discover why it’s important for a healthy environment and get involved in monitoring and conserving your local wildlife.
We will be running a programme of events throughout 2010 to celebrate and promote International Year of Biodiversity. Stay up to date with upcoming events and ways to become involved here and at

Text and image taken for the NI Environment Agency website :

Newry & Mounre District Local Biodiversity Action Plan:


Bursaries for Teacher Professional Development

The General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI) has just announced a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Bursary funding programme available during 2010-11. The funding will be made available to individual teachers wishing to undertake professional activities relating to the NI Curriculum. The closing date for applications is Monday 1st March 2010.

The programme has been running successfully for five years and as with previous bursary programmes an emphasis is being placed on teacher professional development relating to improvement in teaching and learning for pupils. The Registrar of GTCNI, Eddie McArdle commented: “The bursary offers the opportunity for teachers to gain professional experiences that are not otherwise immediately available to them. All of the previous participants have spoken enthusiastically about the ‘professional space’ afforded by the bursary and testified the benefits of the experience, not only through confidence gained while undertaking the projects, but to the pupils too”.The range of previous bursary projects have included the development of skills in new ICT applications and software, skills in using interactive whiteboards and expertise in e-learning. The application form and notes are available for download from the GTCNI website The closing date for applications is Monday 1st March 2010 and the activity period runs from 5th April 2010 – 1st March 2011