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Wellness Through Nature – the Special Birds of Lough Erne

Through this project LELP will work with local community organisations, farmers, individuals and local artists to engage people not only with one another but also with the landscape that they live in.

Wellness Through Nature – the Special Birds of Lough Erne

We are now looking forward to the realisation of the Wellness Through Nature – the Special Birds of Lough Erne Project, being delivered with funding from the Rural Engagement Arts Programme through the ARTS Council of Northern Ireland as well as funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund in Northern Ireland.

Through this project LELP will work with local community organisations, farmers, individuals and local artists to engage people not only with one another but also with the landscape that they live in. Focussing specifically on the need for conservation and protection of breeding wader birds like curlew, snipe and lapwing. These birds come to the shores of Lough Erne every year to breed in the summer, facing many challenges along the way – from finding suitable habitats to issues with predation, changing weather patterns and risks from farming practices.

We will focus on improving public awareness about these birds and also delivering an education programme to participants in the community arts programme – working within the community to bring people together to learn about the landscape and environment sharing their views, memories and insights through the creation of visual art and media.

We will also work with other agencies to install a large, double sided mural in a suitable location in Enniskillen. One side will display a mural painted by local artist, Kevin McHugh which will include a landscape background, focussing on the life span and natural habitats of highly at risk breeding wader birds found on Lough Erne.

The other side of the sign will include information on these birds and a collage of pictures from artwork created as part of a 6 month community art project.

We are excited as we begin this project, bringing members of the community together to learn about our environment focusing on breeding waders, their habitat and the current decline of these magnificent birds in the region as well as encouraging memories of the past of the birds found in the landscape.

At the end of the project we aim to have three exhibitions, including one celebration event, unveiling the mural as well as showcasing the artwork, and displaying a video which will show the entire process of the project.

Project Updates

Beginning of the ARTS workshops

We are very excited to announce the beginning of our arts workshops! Led by Anna McGurn (Muddy Fingers), you will be using several mediums (painting, relief work, sculpture and mosaic) to explore the importance of breeding waders of Fermanagh, and the artwork will form part of a mural which will be installed in Fermanagh. This is part of the Wellness through Nature: The Special Birds of Lough Erne Project.

The available workshops to book now are:

  • Enniskillen (Saturdays from 9.30am-12.30pm: 11th March – 15th April)
  • Enniskillen (Fridays from 2.30-5.20pm: 31st March – 12th May)
  • Belleek (Fridays from 9.30am-12.30pm: 24th March – 5th May)

Please note the above hours and dates. We recommend and would highly encourage those involved to attend each session. Please use the following link to sign up:

LELP will be in contact through email to confirm your space as well as the location for the workshop. There is a limit of 12 participants per workshop. If there is high demand, unfortunately filling in the form may not guarantee a space, however LELP will try and work around this to provide you with an opportunity to take place in these fantastic workshops.

There will also be sessions announced in the coming weeks for Lisnaskea (Saturday Mornings), Belcoo (Saturday mornings), Derrylin (Tuesday Mornings), Irvinestown (Friday mornings) as well as a public workshop session in April for World Curlew Day but bookings for these areas will be released in the coming weeks.

Many thanks to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the National Lottery Heritage Fund for Northern Ireland for funding this project.

Concluding the Arts Workshops

Thanks to funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership have been able to successfully run 8 separate Wellness through Nature Arts Workshops in various locations around Co.Fermanagh, hosted by Anna McGurn, locations include:

  • Enniskillen (x 2 workshops)
  • Belcoo
  • Derrylin
  • Lisnskea
  • Irvinestown
  • Belleek
  • Willowbridge Special School

85 people signed up to take part in the Art Workshops, and an additional 9 students who attend Willowbridge Special School, and 29 people engaging with out Curlew Arts Cruise, making a grand total of 123 people engaging with nature through Art.

Capturing the Workshops – Belleek

Taking place in Belleek Community Centre, have a look at some of the wonderful work created by our participants:

Capturing the Workshops – Derrylin

Held in Aughakillymaude Community Association Building, historically an old National school, and now home to the local Mummers Association. Here are some lovely moments from the Art Workshop:

Worl Curlew Day – Art Cruise

The April 21 event saw participants invited to board the Lady of the Lake to learn about the curlew and other breeding waders which live on the local RSPB Reserve islands, before beginning an art workshop led by Anna McGurn, of Boa Island, previously a finalist of Channel 4’s ‘The Great Pottery Throwdown’.

Made possible by The National Lottery Heritage Fund Northern Ireland and Arts Council Northern Ireland, the Curlew Arts Cruise featured presentations from representatives of the RSPB, Curlew Life and the Lough Erne Wildfowlers Council, who talked about the endangered curlew species and the collaborative work they are doing to conserve and boost breeding numbers and raising awareness of what locals can do to aid this.

The Curlew Life project area includes RSPB’s most westerly reserve, the Lower Lough Erne Islands and more than 1,000 hectares in the Upper Lough Erne area under private ownership.

Supporting approximately 60 breeding pairs of curlew, it equates to up to a quarter of the Northern Ireland breeding curlew population, and around 20 per cent of the all-Ireland breeding population.

LELP’s ‘Wellness Through Nature: The Special Birds of Lough Erne’ project strives to highlight the importance of protecting the endangered curlew species as well as creating an artistic and valued connection between participants and Fermanagh’s stunning landscape.

Sketching while on the water, surrounded by the sound of curlews thriving in Lower Lough Erne, created an immersive and tranquil experience for the participants, providing an informative moment for all to share, while also helping to rekindle a love for art, inspired by Fermanagh’s unique scenery.