Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Wild Garlic Pesto at Ecos Nature Park

Participants foraged the site for ingredients then made their very own Wild Garlic Pesto to take home as part of the Wild About Food Programme. Delicious! 

Next up, 'Love Dairy' and make your own frozen dessert at Dixon Park, Larne, Saturday 11th June, 2pm-4pm. 

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Wild About Food! Wild Garlic Pesto

The first 'Wild About Food' workshop takes place this Saturday 21st May at Ecos Nature Park, Ballymena, 10am - 12noon.

Join us for a walk around the site collecting ingredients before making your own wild garlic pesto. Yum!

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Biodiversity Family Fun Days

Spring is a great time to learn more about the natural world. Flowers begin to bloom, insects and frogs have emerged from winter hibernation and our local birds are out and about as they defend their territories and sing to attract a mate.

Our Biodiversity Fun Days are a great way for families to learn more about the natural world through fun and practical activities. With a range of experts on site you can learn about birds, bugs and more.

Event details:

Biodiversity Family Fun Day
The People’s Park, Ballymena
Saturday 21st May, 1pm - 4pm

Biodiversity Family Fun Day
Town Parks, Larne
Sunday 22nd May, 1pm – 4pm

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Commendation for the Friends Of Bashfordsland Wood & Oakfield Glen

The Mayor of Mid & East Antrim met the ‘Friends of Bashfordsland Wood & Oakfield Glen’ on Saturday 14th May 2016. The group were carrying out path maintenance to stop the paths flooding.

The Mayor commended the group on their hard work and dedication over the last 10 months and thanked them for their interest in the site and for giving back to the community.

The next Friends Of task day is Saturday 11th June, meeting at Oakfield Community Centre at 10am. If you are interested in learning new skills, getting out in the fresh air and meeting new people, the Friends Of group could be for you.

Monday, 16 May 2016

A Borough in Bloom

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Billy Ashe, is urging green-fingered citizens to help make the Borough beautiful by officially launching the 2016 ‘In Bloom’ campaign and related community competitions.

Cllr Ashe said that Mid and East Antrim’s ‘In Bloom’ campaign is an opportunity to make the Borough bloom even more this year.

“We can all help and take part by filling a hanging basket, planting a tree or just keeping the garden tidy - there is something for everyone to do to ensure our Borough looks its best. Applications are welcome from all residents of the Borough and competition entry is free of charge. Why not consider nominating a neighbor's garden and other properties that you think are attractive and deserve recognition?” Cllr Ashe said.

There are 10 community competitions with great prizes available for winners and runners-up in each.  The general categories range from Best Kept Garden to Best Kept Allotment so there is sure to be something for everyone.

There are four competitions for young horticulturalists too – Painting, Poetry, Best School Gardening Project and of course, the hotly contested Tallest Sunflower Competition. In fact, Council staff have been busy this week delivering 5,000 free packets of sunflower seeds to schools across the Borough to get pupils started. Silverstream Primary School, Greenisland, pupils are shown below as they receive their free sunflower seeds.

Silverstream Primary School Gardening Club receive free sunflower seeds
General Categories

1.       Best Kept Front Garden;

2.       Best Kept Front Container Garden;

3.       Best Kept Community Planting Scheme;

4.       Best Kept Allotment Garden;

5.       Best Kept Commercial Premises;

6.       Gardening for Wildlife Award;

Young people's (16 and under) Categories

7.       Tallest Sunflower Competition;

8.       Painting Competition;

9.       Poetry Competition;

10.     Best School Gardening Project.

Judging criteria for General Categories: 1) Design and general effect; 2) Plant variety and diversity; 3) Cleanliness and neatness (presentation); 4) Quality of plant growth & produce (husbandry); 5) Special features (e.g. wildlife area, pool etc.); 6) Plants in bloom.

There are prizes for winners and runners up in each category and winners and runners up will be invited to an awards ceremony in October. Entries 1 to 6 must be received by 20th July. Entry 7 must be received by 1 September. Entries 8 to 10 must be received by 30 September.

For more information please click here 

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Wild About Food!

Mid and East Antrim is going ‘wild about food’ with a new project launched to celebrate locally sourced ingredients and products. The project - a partnership between Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund - will see participants taking part in a range of activities making the most of local products.

It was launched on Monday 9 May 2016 by the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough, Councillor Thomas Hogg and the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Billy Ashe in the village of Ballynure - which lies on the boundary of the two Council areas. Local children from Woodburn Primary School, Carrickfergus and Ballynure Primary School joined in the fun with a foraging walk. Other attendees included representatives from Tourism NI, Heritage Lottery Fund, local Councillors and community members. 

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Cllr Billy Ashe, explained: “This project is our contribution to the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink and we have incorporated many of the themes such as ‘Love Dairy’, ‘Bread and Baking’ and ‘Harvest’. So from ‘wild garlic pesto’ to the apple harvest, from May through to October, a wide range of exciting food workshops will be provided throughout the two Council areas."

 Furthermore, this project will act as a reminder of the ecosystem processes which continues to provide us with food, air and water reminding us of the importance of the natural world around us. With today’s reliance on supermarkets, and the assumption that any food can be purchased at any time of the year, this projects aims to remind people of importance of local produce. It highlight how to make the most of ingredients which have not incurred thousands of air miles and the associated carbon foot print.

So from salmon from our rivers to traditional homemade bread, this is a perfect opportunity to celebrate the fantastic local produce on our door step. Look out for workshops near you!

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Woollen Woods Grand Opening 2016

Photos of the Grand Opening of the only Woollen Wood in Northern Ireland - Diamond Jubilee Wood Whitehead - on Saturday 7th May 2016. A great turnout despite the inclement weather. Thanks to all who came along. The display will remain on site throughout the summer so still time to get down and see for yourself!

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

If you go down to the woods....

The final woollen woods workshop was Saturday 30th April in Whitehead. Thanks to everyone who came along and made a woollen creation, they will be going on display with hundreds of others.

The Woollen Woods Grand Opening is this Saturday 7th May, 1pm - 4pm at Diamond Jubilee Wood Whitehead - the only Woollen Wood in Northern Ireland!

We are celebrating with a FREE family fun day. Activities include bird ringing, pond dipping, nest box building, arts and crafts, storytelling, face painting, NI Big Sock and more.

See you in the Woollen Wood!