Tidy Towns and community groups in East Cork have united to tackle litter and improve biodiversity in their areas.
Members of Tidy Towns groups and community councils across East Cork descended on Ballymaloe Cookery School for the launch of the East Cork Biodiversity Networking Programme.
The aim of the programme is to foster a variety of plant and animal life by making their local areas more welcoming habitats.
Delegates from Glounthaune; Cobh; Carrigtwohill; Cloyne; Killeagh/Inch and Youghal Tidy Towns and Birdwatch Ireland; Ladysbridge/Ballymacoda Community Council; Capel Clean Coasts; East Cork Beekeepers; Ballycotton Community Development Company; Blackrock Clean Up Group; St. Colman’s Community College and Midleton Distillery heard from Paul Moore of Birdwatch Ireland about the example of how the Swift bird declined in numbers by 39% between 2008 and 2013 due to a lack of a safe habitat.
Dr Úna Fitzpatrick from the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Waterford instructed the attendees on actions to improve the biodiversity of their local communities, businesses, schools, churches and gardens.
Proinsias Ó Tuama, a teacher in St. Colman’s Community College and member of Clean Coasts Ballynamona who organised the event said: “It was a real opportunity for groups to liaise with each other, share resources, plan and work collaboratively together going forward into the future. The groups learned about best practice in creating biodiversity-rich habitats with the reduction in the use of pesticides.”
Ruth Ring, chairperson of Cobh Tidy Towns added: “It was a really informative event, which will help guide us in our projects to enhance wildlife and our environment in East Cork. Networking and sharing our positive experiences as well as challenges is vital to ensure we work effectively. We were delighted to attend from Cobh to meet like-minded people and look forward to the next event”.
“Tidy Towns and Clean Coasts groups swapped contact details and will see a new collaborative effort over the coming weeks and months” added Mr Ó Tuama.
The East Cork Biodiversity Networking Programme was set up with Local Agenda 21 funding through Cork County Council.
The Local Agenda 21 Environmental Partnership Fund has operated since 1997 and promotes sustainable development by assisting small-scale environmental projects at local level.
Over €450,000 was provided by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment in 2017 to 834 projects around the country. This funding is matched by equivalent funding from the local authorities. A variety of projects and schemes has been supported under the Fund in previous years including community gardens, allotments and compost schemes, rainwater harvesting systems, educational initiatives and environmental exhibitions.