Communities in Dublin that are committed to protecting biodiversity and wildlife are being offered an opportunity to work with an expert ecologist under additional grant supports. The supports are being offered by The Community Foundation for Ireland 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, which is now in its third year.
Local groups in Dublin 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 3-5 local landowners.
The aim is to contribute towards reversing a crisis which has seen nature and biodiversity under severe threat.
The three strands are:
· 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
Announcing the grants Minister of State for Heritage at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing, Malcolm Noonan TD, said community involvement on the ground can have a big national impact.
“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. 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. We hope to continue to support the measures arising from these plans, and welcome new communities to come on board too.”
Minister Noonan noted the grants arose from the “Seeds for Nature” commitments 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 Dublin to apply.”
Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of The Community Foundation for Ireland 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. 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.”
Full details of the application process are available at www.communityfoundation.ie, the closing date is 12th November 2021