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12 May 2011

Get back to nature with BBC NI’s Wild Week Live

Wild Week Live is a celebration of our rich wildlife from around Northern Ireland. Throughout the week (Sat May 21 to Sat May 28) BBC NI will uncover the rich flora and fauna which exist in this country and encourage audiences to go out and explore.

The week long TV and radio extravaganza will kick off on BBC Radio Ulster on Saturday, May 21 at 8am with a special Your Place And Mine. The programme will broadcast live from Church Bay in the heart of Rathlin, as Anne Marie McAleese meets residents young and old and discovers what makes island life so special, while Darryl Grimason delves deep into Rathlin's unique natural history. It will feature puffins, shy golden hares and rare orchids, thriving communities of common and grey seals, and an enormous, raucous seabird colony.

In the following week from Monday to Friday (May 23 to 27) there will be special live BBC Radio Ulster programmes each morning at 10.15am with presenter Etta Halliday. In these fifteen minute programmes reporters will go to the places which are often forgotten like the Montiaghs, close to Lough Neagh, which is a haven for the wonderfully iridescent dragonfly; or the Correl Glen in Fermanagh. Etta Halliday is really excited about this wildlife project: She says: “I will get to see places that I never knew existed and also – just as exciting – to revisit places from my childhood!”

On television there are half hour daily programmes from Monday, May 23 to Thursday, May 27 on BBC One NI at 7pm which will come live from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre at Castle Espie near Comber. The week will culminate in a special hour long programme at 7pm on Friday May 27.

Presented by Donna Traynor and Darryl Grimason these programmes will celebrate our diverse wildlife by showcasing nature from all parts of Northern Ireland. We will see badgers, bats, foxes and ancient forests alongside starlings, pine martens, hares and red kites. The programme will also meet the people who have a passion for the great outdoors.

Each night Donna and Darryl will be encouraging the audience to undertake some wildlife projects of their own. This will include Moth Night where they will show people how to attract and observe moths in their own back gardens with a moth hunt in Londonderry with Gerry Anderson. There will also be a report on the dawn chorus, tips on how to get the best from the birds in your own back garden and advice on the best places in Northern Ireland to walk, cycle or canoe to see wildlife at its best.

Throughout the week we shall also see a host of other familiar BBC N.I. presenters like William Crawley who will be spending the night searching for badgers and Mark Carruthers who will be travelling to County Fermanagh to find out more about the pine marten. Gerry Kelly will be at Tollymore with some, increasingly rare, red squirrels, Dan Gordon will be checking out the urban foxes in Belfast and Mark Patterson is hoping to dive with basking sharks and minke whales off the coast of Donegal.

The programme will also show footage from live webcams which will be filming the hatchery, nest boxes and a swallow’s nest throughout the week. Audiences will be able to access this footage throughout the week at bbc.co.uk/ni

The week will finish with a live broadcast from BBC Radio Ulster’s Saturday Magazine at 10am from Castle Espie. John Toal will be taking time to feed the ducks whilst reliving his adventure canoeing along the Strangford to Newry trail and Saturday Magazine’s chef Paula McIntyre will be making an irresistible picnic if you're out and about exploring the Northern Ireland countryside.

Wild life fans can also follow the BBC Barn Owl, 'Ollie', on twitter as well as upload your own local wildlife photos onto the BBC Wild Week flickr and Facebook sites.

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