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18/10/2021

Expert advice and grants can be given to Kildare citizens who wish to protect wildlife

Biodiversity Awards

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Communities in Kildare that are committed to protecting biodiversity are being offered an opportunity to work with an expert ecologist under additional grant supports.

Local groups in Kildare are being invited to apply under three strands, each with the aim of developing actions which will deliver real results with a Community Biodiversity Plan.

Communities will work with an ecologist to draw up a community biodiversity action plan within their local community or with two or three-to-five local landowners.

The supports are being offered by The Community Foundation for Ireland (CFI), and will be held in partnership with the National Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage as part of a joint Community and Nature Fund.

The three strands listed are as follows:

  • Strand 1: Grants of up to €5,000 for community groups to work with an ecologist to classify their local habitats, assess their condition and extent, map them, and define a suite of actions to enhance biodiversity.
  • Strand 2: Grants of up to €7,500 for community groups who carry out the work outlined in Strand 1 in collaboration with one or two land managers/owners to classify habitats at landscape scale with a focus on field boundaries (hedgerows, treelines and stone walls), assess their condition and extent, map them and define a suite of actions to enhance biodiversity.
  • Strand 3: Grants of up to €10,000 for community groups who carry out the work outlined in Strand 1 in collaboration with three to five land managers/owners to classify habitats at landscape scale with a focus on field boundaries (hedgerows, treelines and stone walls), assess their condition and extent, map them and define a suite of actions to enhance biodiversity.

Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of CFI, added: "There is real passion and energy in local communities to reverse the crisis facing our native plants and animals."

"Our fund has already seen citizen scientists mobilised to protect peat-lands, native butterflies, butterflies, bats and birds as well as plants and trees even during a pandemic."

She continued: "Now we are setting ourselves long term goals by offering communities access to ecologists who will advise and guide on the actions which need to be taken.

"This will see groups re-assured that the actions they take are the right ones which will be impactful by delivering benefits not just for the immediate future but for generations to come."

Minister of State for Heritage at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing, Malcolm Noonan TD, also said about the initiative: "Initiatives at local level can have a hugely positive impact on nature in Ireland, while helping people to get to know the biodiversity in their area and understand what to do to protect and enhance it."

"Communities have an important role to play in addressing the biodiversity crisis, and we need their help to create new habitats, restore existing ones, tackle invasive species and raise awareness of nature locally, which in turn has a regional and national effect.

He continued: "More than ever, people are making space for wildness in their lives – in gardens, on farms, and in public spaces – and reaping all sorts of benefits, not least of which is the sense of wellbeing and peace that we get from spending time in nature.

“My Department’s investment in local projects such as this will support community efforts to deliver benefits for biodiversity, and for society.

We are delighted that over the last two years this fund resulted in the production of 56 community biodiversity action plans, and we hope to continue to support the measures arising from these plans, and welcome new communities to come on board too.”

Minister Noonan also noted the grants arose from the “Seeds for Nature” commitments, which were first made at the National Biodiversity Conference in 2019.

“Communities need access to scientific expertise so we undertook to provide specialist support from ecologists to help people understand local context and determine priorities based on evidence."

"I would urge community groups all over County Kildare to apply," he concluded.

Full details of the application process are available at www.communityfoundation.ie.

The closing date is November 12.

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