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Laois Communities encouraged to act to protect local biodiversity as grant process opens

Biodiversity Walk and Talk at Abbeyleix Bog, organised by Laois PPN in 2020

Communities in Laois 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 Laois 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 grants are available in three strands. Under 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

Under 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

While under 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.

Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of The Community Foundation for Ireland, encouraged community groups to apply.

She said: “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 and the closing date is November 12.

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