Put Spring into your community’s step! - Creating a Biodiversity Plan unique to your area

Put Spring into your community’s step!

Would your local area and/or group be interested in creating a Biodiversity Plan unique to your area? Monaghan LEADER can help!

Throughout 2019, Monaghan Integrated Development (on behalf of Monaghan Local Action Group) carried out biodiversity training with 85 community groups across Monaghan. This initial training revealed a need for further training and support of community groups in the area of Biodiversity and so, 33 groups embarked on the journey of creating their own professional biodiversity plans and the LEADER funded ‘Biodiversity Plans for Community Groups in Monaghan’ project was born. See some representatives pictured at Lough Muckno, Castleblayney, with the first page of their plan.

Monaghan LEADER commissioned Flynn Furney Environmental Consultants to facilitate the development and co-design of local biodiversity plans. Jennifer McAree of Flynn Furney Environmental Consultants said that ‘this was a great project to be part of and I think it makes communities aware of what they can actually do to help biodiversity on the ground. Thank you!’ All participating groups had one initial information session about the work to be carried out and the potential impact. The plans were developed using a Community-Led Local Development approach with each community group participating and significantly inputting into the design of their individual plan.

The principal aim of this LEADER funded initiative was to increase awareness of the importance of biodiversity to communities but also, to empower individuals and groups to make positive contributions for the benefit of both wildlife and people. Each plan is uniquely designed and fit for purpose within each community setting, allowing for biodiversity to flourish in local areas and ensuring measures are put in place to negate risk and maximise the benefits for the local environment.

As per the plans, ‘Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on Earth. It includes all living things (organisms) that make up the natural world (including humans). Biodiversity also refers to the places where animals and plants live (habitats) and the complex interactions between living things and their environment which we call ecosystems.’ The consultants set out some actions that would be common to all of the participating groups which included but were not limited to; Habitat Creation & Management such as Tree and Hedgerow Planting, and Meadow grasslands and wildflower lawns, Pollinator Friendly Planting; and Protecting Biodiversity and Raising Awareness. The first section of each plan introduces the project with some biodiversity basics. Next, they outline Biodiversity Projects, tailored to the group and area. Finally, there is a schedule for the projects suggested that the group would undertake over the next three years. And so, this LEADER funded Biodiversity project offers the tools for community-led and biodiverse ideas to come to fruition. Some of the proposed larger scale plans include; development of bio sensory play area, planting of native trees and plants, arboriculture surveys, completion of biodiversity-friendly walking trails and more.

This project helped groups ‘design’ biodiversity matters into their present and future projects for their area while maximising the benefits for wildlife along with people. The plans are to be used as a guide for the various groups over the next three years. Gabriel O’Connell, CEO of Monaghan Integrated Development, applauded the project, ‘These plans will inform the groups in how to carry out their biodiversity projects, raise awareness of how biodiversity is considered in these communities, while supporting groups seeking financial or material support for future projects. The 33 community groups involved now see biodiversity as a key consideration in the community planning process’. Many of these plans will be the subject of future LEADER funding applications and we look forward to seeing exciting biodiversity projects emerge as a result of these Community Plans.
Would you like to encourage local biodiversity and create a plan? Contact Monaghan LEADER at  / 087 176 0877 and visit www.midl.ie 
Monaghan Local Action Group (LAG) is administering the LEADER RDP 2014-2022 in County Monaghan for the Department of Rural and Community Development and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The County Monaghan Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) is operating as the LAG for the County. Monaghan Integrated Development the Local Development Company for County Monaghan is the implementing partner and Monaghan County Council is the lead financial partner.

For more information about Monaghan LEADER, contact  / 087 176 0877 and visit www.midl.ie