As we get ready to set the clocks back on Sunday 27th October, a local group is urging the people of Meath to spend their ‘extra’ hour by getting outdoors and enjoying nature.
The East Border Region’s Action for Biodiversity Project, which is part funded by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme, is encouraging people to ditch their late lie-in for an hour spent in nature when they turn back the clocks this week.
Abby McSherry, Project Officer for Action for Biodiversity explains: “It’s all too tempting to spend extra time in bed when the clocks go back, but we think it’s far too early to start hibernating for winter! The weather at the moment is crisp and fresh and perfect for getting the family together to head outdoors and enjoy the rich variety of animal and plantlife in Meath.
“In your own back yard, you might consider planting a tree, hanging a birdfeeder, or taking the kids on a nature trail round the garden. You could take an invigorating walk at Mornington Beach or spot skylarks at Girley Bog in Kells. The clock change also occurs right around the time of the school holidays, so we hope these ideas will inspire families on how to spend their time when the children are off school.”
Giving an hour to nature can also mean giving wildlife a home, Abby explains, “There are an estimated 171 species in danger of extinction in the Republic of Ireland, mostly due to humans expanding into their natural habitats. By building a pile of leaves in your garden for hedgehogs to live in or putting out a birdhouse or bug box you could help conserve endangered native species and protect them for future generations,” said Abby.
The Action for Biodiversity project hopes to raise awareness of the importance of conserving biodiversity in the East Border Region. By funding over 80 nature conservation projects between North Down and Meath, Action for Biodiversity are leading by example when it comes to protecting nature.
“Biodiversity refers to the rich variety of life across both plant and animal species,” Abby continues. “It provides us with the food we eat, the clean air we breathe, fertile soils, insects to pollinate crops, natural wetlands to prevent floods and beautiful scenery to enjoy.
“When we think about everything biodiversity gives us, giving an hour to nature seems like a very worthwhile, not to mention enjoyable, healthy and fun thing to do!”
Some ways to give an hour to nature in your area -
Dalgan Park in Navan is perfect for an hour of rest and relaxation!
Take a walk in the scenic Blackwater Park on the banks of the Blackwater River - an ideal family leisure spot in the centre of Navan!
Visit the short but sweet Meath Coastline - one of the smallest sections of coastline in any local authority in Ireland but most of it is of international conservation importance for the coastal habitats and important bird populations it supports
Check out Mornington Beach – a coastal site of international importance
Visit Girley Bog in Kells to enjoy the changing colours of autumn heather – look out for skylarks
Some ways to give an hour to nature at home -
Place a birdfeeder, bird or bug box in your garden, balcony or local community garden – then watch what species it attracts
Take the children on a woodland trail around your garden and see how many different animal and plant species they can record
Leave piles of rotting wood or leaves to provide habitats for many overlooked organisms such as hedgehogs
Build a water feature in your garden to encourage pondlife such as frogs, newts or dragonflies
Plant herbs on your windowsill or potted in your garden – an easy way to encourage biodiversity and save money by ‘growing your own’!
Bring a bag to your local forest park to collect seeds or acorns – plant your own tree at home when you return
To find out more ways you can give an hour to nature in your own back garden and to find out about locations, venues and projects supported by Action for Biodiversity within your area, visit www.actionforbiodiversity.eu . The group is also keen to hear more suggestions from the public on places to go and enjoy nature in your area or suggestions for how you can make your back garden a better place for wildlife. Join the conversation on the Action for Biodiversity Facebook page.
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