Falls Park is “buzzing” due to a new piece of public art created by local young people from St Gall’s G.A.C. The piece features a large Bee and a beautiful array of wildflowers encouraging people to “Bee one with nature”. The piece was developed during the summer as part of an environmental project with Belfast City Council and Belfast Hills Partnership, and funded by Belfast Harbour.
The young people took part in an eight-day John Muir ‘Explorer’ Award, an environmental scheme that focuses on wild places and encourages awareness and responsibility for the natural environment. They also worked with local street artist, Tim McCarthy, to capture their John Muir experiences and inspire local people to think about nature and their impact on it.
As part of the project the young people explored their own natural world through several treks, camps and conservation projects in the Belfast Hills and Parks. Their hope is that the piece will challenge perceptions about wildlife and celebrate Belfast’s native species and biodiversity.
Belfast Hills Partnership’s, Youth Outreach Officer, Jo Boylan, said:
“The primary aim of this youth empowerment project was to help young people gain new skills by learning about their local environment. The girls came up with the idea for the campaign themselves and were encouraged to develop their message through a number of workshops. I have been blown away by their commitment to the project and the stunning art piece they have created.
“I’ve enjoyed watching them grow and learn over the summer, and ultimately develop a huge sense of pride in what they have achieved by working as a team”.
Jenni Barkley, Communications and Corporate Responsibility Manager, Belfast Harbour, said:
“Belfast Harbour supports a wide range of projects to support the environment, young people and the arts. This is a brilliant project which touches upon all of those goals and the girls from St Gall’s have created a lovely piece of art which the whole community will be able to enjoy.”
The initiative is part of the Big Lottery’s, Our Bright Future Project, which aims to encourage young people discover and explore habitats on their doorstep, as well as inspiring them to become the future ambassadors for our natural heritage and wildlife.