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Community Driven Innovation in Sustainability in East Cork

East Cork Biodiversity Networking Programme launches innovative first-of-a-kind Biodiversity Action Plan – Community Groups Leading The Way in Wildflower Meadow Management.

The East Cork Biodiversity Networking Programme (ECBNP) launched their “Coastal Habitats and Walkways” project at Cork County Council’s East Cork Municipal Offices in Midleton, Co. Cork.  The group is aiming to halt biodiversity loss and help coastal habitats in the Cork area to thrive, as well as provide education about biodiversity and climate change.  The group marked the launch of this project with the unveiling of a new mini-tractor mower and trailer, which will be used for the creation and management of wild-meadows.  Specially designated areas of public land, historically kept as tightly mown lawns, will be managed as wildflower meadows.  These meadows are perfect for pollinators to thrive in and for the public to enjoy. 

The project is funded by the Fisheries Local Action Group, Cork County Council, Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard and Carey Tools. Bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects are experiencing severe declines, with one third of Irish bee species presently facing immediate extinction.  The group will engage and work closely with local Tidy Town groups in Cork, providing training and equipment support to assist in making sure that landscaping not only brightens up towns and villages, but also increases biodiversity.

Founder of the East Cork Biodiversity Networking Programme Proinsias Ó Tuama

“We are excited at reaching this important milestone in the project” said Proinsias Ó Tuama, founder of the East Cork Biodiversity Networking Programme.  “The message that ‘wild is beautiful’ is a key part of the work that we are doing. Properly managing wildflower areas is just as big a challenge as a well-manicured formal garden, but adds so much more to local biodiversity and the wildlife that local communities can enjoy.” 

Approximately 27 acres of coastal habitats and pathways in the Cork area have been identified as part of the project, with work already ongoing on a number of sites including the seafront at Garryvoe beach. In August, the group will hold a workshop with Tidy Towns and other community groups to identify further areas for conservation and collaboration.   

Dr. Liam Lysaght of the National Biodiversity Data Centre said that “We are very pleased to support the work of the East Cork Biodiversity Network Programme as it is through local action at the grass roots level that real biodiversity actions can be delivered.  The East Cork Biodiversity Networking Program is leading the way in this regard.” 

Joe McCarthy, East Cork Municipal District Officer with Cork County Council

“Cork County Council are delighted to be associated with this wonderful and innovative project.  It promises to deliver and improve on our biodiverse rich habitats for our pollinators who desperately need our support” said Joe McCarthy, East Cork Municipal District Officer with Cork County Council. 

The newly-founded East Cork Biodiversity Networking Programme is an offshoot of multi awarding-winning Clean Coasts Ballynamona group, which won Cork County Council Mayoral Community Group of the year 2019. The new group is hoping to further harness the community spirit across East Cork that has seen dozens of volunteers clean the beaches over the last 5 years.  Mr. O Tuama added “We are in a race against time to save our bees and other pollinators that keep our countryside thriving.  This is a battle we can fight one patch of ground at a time while also gaining huge community spirit and mental health benefit by simply being outdoors as part of team with a common aim”.  The group’s website will publicise talks and training events, provide details for anyone who wants to volunteer, give helpful tips to gardeners seeing to be more eco-friendly or anyone seeking to make a little room for nature.  

Paul Wickham; General Manager Midleton Distilleries IDL, Brenda O'Riordan; Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Proinsias Ó Tuama; East Cork Biodiversity Networking Programme, Rebecca Byrne; Strategic Sourcing Consultant at iDDea, and Joe McCarthy; East Cork Municipal District Officer Cork County Council at the launch of the Coastal Habitats and Walkways project at the East Cork Municipal District Offices in Midleton, Co. Cork.

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