COMMUNITY groups in Carlow came together recently in a bid to improve biodiversity in local areas. Representatives from every community group in Co Carlow recently attended a biodiversity workshop hosted by Carlow Development Partnership (CDP) as part of its Sustainable Communities strategy.
The workshop, held in Carlow College, is the first in a series of environmental workshops being run by CDP which will focus on creating, developing, building and encouraging sustainable communities across a range of topics, including water conservation, renewable energy, biodiversity and recycling.
The workshop was very well attended by community group representatives across Co Carlow, all with an aim of improving biodiversity in their communities.
In her welcome and introduction, Mary Lawlor, chief executive of CDP, highlighted the supports available to community groups from the company, including on-site advice and mentoring, finance for small, medium and large-scale environmental projects along with the provision of labour support through both Tús and the Rural Social Scheme.
Ben Malone, administrative and engagement officer with the National Biodiversity Data Centre, shared ideas for community conservation with the large group of attendees as well as outlining the processes involved in producing a conservation plan within a community. Ben facilitated a questions and answers session which proved to be very popular, with ladybirds, ants, bees, seeds and flowers all being discussed!
John McHugh, chairperson of An Gairdín Beo, presented an overview of the processes involved in setting up a community garden, from beginning to present time. The talk was of huge benefit to community groups that might a potential project in mind but are unsure of how to get it off the ground. By the end of John’s presentation, community groups were already planning a visit Carlow’s award-winning community garden!
Paul Sullivan, CEO of social investment fund Clann Credo, gave advice on accessing finance for community loans which can help make projects become a reality. The organisation offers affordable repayment and interest rates to community projects that will have a positive impact on all involved.
Running parallel to the biodiversity workshop, a unique biodiversity programme facilitating children between the ages of six and 12 years was presented by Róisín Byrne, community environmental officer with the CDP. The workshop encouraged children to be more environmentally aware, with various examples and practical demonstrations, as well as biodiversity-themed games and the construction of small bug hotels that the children could take home. The children’s workshop was very well received, with feedback from parents highlighting the importance of dual workshops for both adults and children.
Following the success and feedback received, CDP hosted a follow-on meeting for community groups with ecologist Ciarán Byrne on Saturday 19 October in the Seven Oaks Hotel.
If your community group is interested in learning more about the environmental workshops or identifying biodiversity opportunities in your area, contact Róisín Byrne, community environmental officer, CDP on 059 9720733 or e-mail [email protected]