Using land areas as living classrooms on campus lands, developing wild-flower meadows, embedding biodiversity into curriculum design and participation in community-led biodiversity initiatives are the key elements of Galway Mayo Institute of Technology’s new biodiversity plan, GMIT’s Vision for Biodiversity.
The plan which aims to support and promote biodiversity conservation in teaching and learning on all campuses and environs and through community and knowledge sharing activities across the region was launched this week.
Through four main objectives, the plan aligns with the Government’s National Biodiversity Plan 2017-2021. These include being proactive in biodiversity conservation, considering biodiversity in the planning and management of GMIT’s built environment and surroundings, increasing knowledge of biodiversity among students and staff, embedding biodiversity related topics in curricula design, and engaging with communities and knowledge sharing across the region.
Chair of the interdisciplinary group who prepared GMIT’s Vision for Biodiversity, Dr Katie O’Dwyer, lecturer in Aquatic Ecology, said that GMIT are taking an active role in promoting and protecting biodiversity on its campuses.
“Our efforts will also contribute to ongoing projects within the Galway National Park City initiative,” she said.
GMIT have been involved in environmental activities for over a decade. The Mayo campus, led by Green Campus Chair Lynda Huxley, became the first campus in the world to receive the Green Campus Flag from the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and An Taisce for waste reduction and recycling initiatives.
In 2014 it was awarded its second flag for biodiversity initiatives such as planting native trees, establishing a Sanctuary Garden and Swift nest boxes, as well as outdoor classroom and biodiversity integration into curriculum design by starting Outdoor Education degree courses.
GMIT Letterfrack was awarded the An Taisce Green Campus Flag in 2014 and its second Green Flag for biodiversity in 2019 for initiatives that include water and waste reduction, energy conservation, woodland planting in five acres in Connemara National Park, and transport initiatives.
Last year, GMIT became a signatory of the SDG Accord, which commits GMIT to playing a transformation role in attaining the SDGs by 2030. On 27 January 2022 GMIT signed up as a supporter of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, one of the first actions outlined in the new vision document.
For further details on the GMIT’s Biodiversity Vision and the GMIT Centre for Sustainability, see https://www.gmit.ie/about/centre-for-sustainability
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