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Community Biodiversity Grants for Thomastown, Tullahought and Tullow

I've just announced 78 Community Biodiversity Grants across Ireland including funding to regenerate an 11-acre nature reserve on an island in the River Nore at Thomastown, bird and bat boxes, provide swift nest boxes for Tullow Tidy Towns, and build a pond and plant flowers and trees in Tullahought. Co-funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Community Foundation Ireland, these grants totalling €376,000 will support local groups to develop a Community Biodiversity Action Plan (CBAP) or projects to improve biodiversity based on an existing CBAP.

In Kilkenny, we can now start planning for the regeneration of an 11-acre island on the River Nore at Thomastown with the engagement of an ecologist to work with and guide the fantastic local Community River Trust. This funding will also enable Tullahought to provide bird and bat boxes built from recycled materials, build a pond at the community centre and plant flowers and trees to increase biodiversity in the area. In Carlow, Tullow Tidy Towns will receive funding to provide nest boxes for swifts and to install signage about biodiversity in the area.

As a child, I relished the access to nature I had along the River Nore so I'm thrilled to see support given to regenerate and conserve nature in the area so future generations can continue to enjoy access to nature on their doorsteps.

Other projects around the country to benefit from grant funding include the protection of the endangered corncrake on the Aran Islands, conservation of swifts in the midlands, and installation of bat shelters in Dublin.

This partnership between NPWS and CFI, which began as 'Seed for Nature' in 2019, has been incredibly impactful at a community level. It connects community groups and organisations with the scientific expertise they need to understand their local biodiversity better, and once they've developed a Community Biodiversity Action Plan they can then go on to take the actions that will help protect and enhance their local biodiversity.

This then has an impact at a national level, because the data they collect is shared with the National Biodiversity Data Centre, making a valuable contribution to citizen science in Ireland. I've always said that communities are at the heart of our efforts protect and restore nature, and this gives them a vital tool to support their work in a meaningful, impactful and ongoing way.


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