'Are weeds useful?' ask pupils
Ardfert NS pupils got their fingers good and green last week as they drove head-first into a fascinating school project to discover whether there was such a thing as a 'superweed'.
The project, started back in February, aimed to tap into the pupils natural curiousity. During the course of their studies, pupils, under the watchful eye of their teacher Joan Holland, took part in numerous research methods including planting wildflower seeds, collecting weeds that were growing locally along with interviewing a local beekeeper, a herbalist, a chef, farmers, vets, gardeners and grandparents.
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The children developed new skills and confidence in scientific research as a result of working on this project and found that weeds have a multitude of uses.
They can be used for medicinal purposes, as food for humans and other creatures, as habitats for wildlife, they attract pollinators, they add nutrients to the soil, they help keep soil together and improve air quality.
So, after all this research, the question remains - is there a Superweed? Well, according to the pupils, they found that there really is a Superweed that grows everywhere! It's the much maligned dandelion! All parts of the plant are useful. It can be used for gallstones, eczema, as a laxative and a diuretic. The class recently exhibited their project at ESB Science Blast exhibition at Mary Immaculate College.