The Water Forum would like to congratulate teacher Brid Ann O’Donoghue and students Eve O’Driscoll and Susannah Guerin from Coláiste Treasa, Kanturk, Co. Cork on winning the Water Forum sponsored award at the BT Young Scientist Competition. Their project investigated “The Effectiveness of Constructed Farmlands Sediment Ponds in Promoting Biodiversity as Indicated by the Presence of Water Beetles as Bioindicators”. The students and monitored the water beetle populations and diversity and plant diversity in 13 sediment and biodiversity ponds on farms in the Allow catchment. Farm sediment ponds trap nutrients and sediment thereby protecting the local waterways. Water beetle populations are in decline in Ireland and the research showed that the ponds proved to be a suitable habitat for beetles with different species populations being recorded. Plant species became established in and beside the ponds and the diversity of these was also monitored and recorded.
The project showed the benefits of schools engaging with local communities as the student’s monitoring was supported by the local Development Company, IRD Duhallow and the Blue Dot Catchment programme which is a Government initiative to protect high status water bodies and reach high status in waterbodies with that potential.
The Coláiste Treasa project was one of 550 projects at the BY Young Scientist competition. Dr Matt Crowe, Chair of the Water Forum presented the award to Eve and Susannah. In total over 1700 projects were submitted for assessment to participate in the competition and while there was only a small number of winners the standard of research and presentations was very high.
The Water Forum hope to see many more water-related projects in the future as students have welcome capacity to contribute to innovative solutions to support action to protect and restore our water resources and nature.