File Pic: Applications are being sought as part of two grant rounds, with grants of up to €10,000 available.
Kildare communities are being invited to apply for funding as part of a partnership initiative to protect and promote local plants and wildlife.
Since 2019, the partnership between the Community Foundation for Ireland (CFI) and the government has supported the development of 45 local action plans, with a further 89 already being planned.
The aim of the grand rounds is to grow the number of areas across the country that are now implementing Local Biodiversity Action Plans.
Applications are being sought as part of two grant rounds, with grants of up to €10,000 available.
Announcing the opening of applications, Denise Charlton, chief executive of the CFI said: "In Kildare, and every part the country, people have been energised to protect riverbanks, green areas, hedgerows, native forests, bogs and peatlands and so much more for future generations.
"The impact of our Biodiversity Fund in partnership with (the) government has been truly amazing. Now, we want to go further and build the network of communities in Kildare which have both a local action plan and recommendations informed by experts.
She continued: "Significantly, our funding not only brings people and experts together it also includes those who often know the most about local biodiversity, farmers and landowners.
"Our efforts are not just benefitting local areas but as the network grows is allowing for the first national mapping of the damage human activity has done to our natural habitats.
"This information is being collated by the National Biodiversity Data Centre to give a true picture of the losses which have been incurred, and a way forward on how we can correct them," Ms Charlton concluded.
The first round of grants is aimed solely at those who wish to develop a plan.
They are being invited to work with an ecologist to assess and map local landscapes, to establish their condition, and then to identify actions which will protect wildlife.
A second round of funding is aimed at areas which have already formed a plan and need support to implement recommendations.
Grants under this round are up to €5,000.
Full details of the funding are available at www.communityfoundation.ie.
Closing date is October 7, 2022.
In 2019, the CFI convened a panel of stakeholders including academics, independent ecologists, NGOs and Heritage Officers as well as our experienced grants executives to develop the Biodiversity Funding Strand within its Environment and Nature Fund.
As a result of this meeting, a grants scheme was devised to enhance biodiversity in communities throughout the country by combining the expertise of qualified ecologists with the skills, experience and enthusiasm of local community groups.
That same year, 56 grants totalling €349,611.20 were awarded to community groups to develop Community Biodiversity Action Plans.
Some groups experienced delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, to date, the CFI have received 45 completed plans, and work continues on the other 11.
These plans and their supporting data, which were uploaded to the National Biodiversity Data Centre, has yielded 6000 pieces of information on up to 882 species of flora and fauna in Ireland.
In 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the CFI gave grants to organisations working in the area of biodiversity, in order to sustain their important work during a period of uncertainty.
Eight grants were given totalling €295,000.
In 2021 Communities were again invited to apply for funding to carry out a Community Biodiversity Action Plan, 77 grants totalling €321,643 were made.
Those awarded grants in 2019 were also given the opportunity to apply for funding to carry out recommendations from their completed plans.
28 groups applied and all were given funding, totalling €91,389. This enabled them to start implementing actions to improve the biodiversity of their local communities.
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