Colin Stanley, Wildlife Photographer

Colin Stanley is a committed local environmentalist. He uses his knowledge and interest in photography, music and art to educate and engage the local community and wider city in environmental issues.

Colin has been photographing butterflies and other wildlife around Galway for the past eight years. His interest in wildlife stems from a childhood love of drawing animals and birds. In 2012, he founded Friends of Merlin Woods along with his wife, Caroline, and other members of the local community, to organise litter picks and other community-based events and walks. In November 2014, Friends of Merlin Woods were recognised with the IPB Pride of Place award in partnership with the Doughiska, Roscam and Ardaun Community. In June 2018, they were recognised again in the annual Mayor’s Awards, winning the Environmental Sustainability Award.

In 2013, Colin began a weekly butterfly transect. He continues to record butterflies, along with other insects, animals and plants with the National Biodiversity Centre. Colin has attended workshops in both butterfly and bumblebee identification with the National Biodiversity Data Centre. With further work, he has also gained knowledge in wildflower identification, as this is often the key to finding the butterflies.

Colin started the Galway Butterfly Project in 2016, in collaboration with Galway Heritage Officer, Dr Jim Higgins. This has involved designing a butterfly poster for the Heritage Council and giving a successful series of identification talks in schools and libraries around the city. Since 2017, these talks have expanded into the county schools and libraries and are currently being recorded because of Covid-19 restrictions.

Colin continues his work with Friends of Merlin Woods as well as photographing and recording species from the bogland, meadows, sand dunes, and burren-type areas around Galway. He is involved in Merlin Woods Community Garden in Doughiska, educating about sustainability and growing your own food. He also brings another of his lifelong passions – music – into the Merlin Woods Collective: a theatre, music and arts-based group. The aim of the collective is to provide environmental education to the local community through original productions of wildlife-based musical drama.

Educating about biodiversity, the environment and sustainability is at the heart of Colin’s life and work goals – both now and for the future.

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