Innovative bat surveys, counting of birds, planting thousands of new trees, protecting rare butterflies as well as promotion of hedgerows and boglands are all projects being supported by new Biodiversity Grants being announced by The Community Foundation for Ireland (Monday 1st February 2021). Eight projects have successfully secured almost €300,000 from The Foundation in a scheme which also enjoys Government support through the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Each is committed to work with local communities to raise awareness and use this to spark actions which help protect some of our most endangered habitats and wildlife. All have been identified as being strategic and sustainable during a period when the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns and a fall in fund-raising activity continues.
Malcolm Noonan, TD Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform said:
“It’s fantastic to see such worthwhile projects delivered by some of Ireland’s finest environmental NGOs benefit from this fund. I know from my own hands-on experience that local action on species conservation, habitat creation and restoration, coupled with community engagement and education, has the power to unlock transformative change for nature in Ireland. This is my Department’s second year collaborating with the Community Foundation for Ireland, and I’m delighted with the selection of such strategic and impactful projects. I look forward to visiting them when it is safe to do so.”
The successful projects are:
BirdWatch Ireland - €83,526
Connecting birds and people to enhance the protection of birds and biodiversity through the power of citizen science, outreach and training. There will be bird surveys, ‘How To’ guides in areas such as nest boxes as well as increased involvement of people with disabilities, new communities and minorities.
Irish Peatland Conservation Council, Kildare - €35,028
Development of the Lodge Bog, Co Kildare into Ireland’s first peatland habitat best practice model for research, restoration and education resource. The installation of a new 38m raised bog bridge and seating, monitoring of flora and fauna, including the Large Heath Butterfly and Curlew. With the ethos ‘little ripples make big waves’ the aim is to make Lodge Bog a beacon that others can follow.
Green Economy Foundation, Cork - €20,000
Working with community groups in Cork on tree planting projects. Practical support, resources and advise will be provided to pant native trees as hedgerows, community woodlands and orchards as well as tree lines. There will be advice on tree species, planting regimes as well as protection and aftercare.
Leave No Trace Ireland, Wicklow - €50,000
‘Love This Place, Leave No Trace’ restoration project will focus on Knocksink Wood Nature Reserve in Co. Wicklow. The programme focuses on restoring a site that is in poor environmental condition or that has been negatively impacted by increased recreational activities. Working with the local community the aim is to facilitate biodiversity and education to repair a site which has been impacted by overcrowding, littering and increased visitation.
Bat Conservation Ireland - €46,446
An identification guide will be developed for the nine resident species of Irish bats. Using this information a new website will be developed and volunteers will be recruited. They will be asked to collect bat dropping samples to send to experts in UCD as part of a citizen-science project. This represents a novel way to efficiently, cheaply and non-invasively, estimate the presence and biodiversity of Irish arthropod species.
Irish Seed Savers Association - €20,000
A training programme for ten community gardens across Ireland to grow and save their own seed to create greater community engagement with the full food supply from seed to plate. The Community Seed Guardian programme is being established in response to Covid-19 to build resilience in communities.
Hedge Laying Association of Ireland - €15,000
The All Ireland Hedge Laying Championships promotes an ancient craft developed over millennia. and is considered the optimum form of management for our native hedgerows. Competitors lay a designated 8 metre section of hedge over a set time period and the process is monitored and judged by an independent expert. The 2021 event is planned for October.
The Native Woodland Trust - €25,000
Establish and run tree and wildflower nurseries in counties Wicklow, Roscommon and Clare. The Clare nursery will be based in the only privately owned part of Rockforest Wood. It will produce primarily Scots Pine from the recently discovered and only source of native Scots.The Roscommon Nursery will produce trees plus woodland and meadow wildflowers sourced only from the Ancient Woodland of St. John’s Wood and from a neighbouring wildflower meadow The Wicklow nursery will focus on rare trees not otherwise available for tree planting in Ireland from native sources – such as Bird Cherry, Wild Cherry, Irish Whitebeam and Ash & Wych Elm selected for natural disease resistance.
Welcoming the announcement of the grants Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of The Community Foundation for Ireland said:
“Local education, awareness and action is how we make climate action works. Each of these projects depend on the support of communities. They have been identified as they are both strategic and sustainable with potential for longer term action. The funding also brings together a partnership with our foundation and public funding through the National Parks and Wildlife Service and then communities through our grantees. This is the sort of joint action we need to protect our environment for all.”
Read the full press release here.