Biodiversity alive and kicking in Shercock
Shercock Tidy Towns recently launched a biodiversity plan in conjunction with the Community Foundation for Ireland.
Carol Smith who is part of the group explains how the plan came into being.
“We wanted to know more about what was present in our area so we could take steps to protect it. We got funding of €2,000 from the Community Foundation for Ireland in January 2022 to develop a biodiversity plan for the town. With this, we reached out to local ecologist, Heather Bothwell, who conducted the study for us.”
She was speaking to the Celt ahead of Biodiversity Week (May 19-28). Members of the Shercock Tidy Towns Group believe their biodiversity plan is one of a kind for this area.
Carol says that the survey revealed some interesting things about the area that some of the local residents didn’t know about.
“A wide range of both plants and animals were present in Shercock. One interesting thing that we found out was that there were swifts living in the area, before the survey we didn’t know this so it was great to discover this.”
When they were writing the plan, Carol says that Shercock Tidy Towns ensured that as many locals as possible would be able to contribute their thoughts to it.
“We had a meeting in late January 2023, when the community was invited to the launch of the draft plan in St Patrick’s Hall. This included all relevant stakeholders such as businesses, community groups and school pupils. Following this, the finalised Shercock Biodiversity Action Plan was published in April 2023 and it is available on Shercock.ie.”
She says its aim is to preserve the habitat for future generations.
“Our mission statement is that we want to ‘make Shercock the best place to live, work and enjoy’. This plan gives the community to right tools and knowledge to be aware of biodiversity in the area and be able to make small but meaningful steps to protect it.”
The plan has received a lot of praise since its publication, according to Carol.
“Our aim was to share our learnings so other people in similar groups around the country can use it as a blueprint in their areas. We got a lot of praise from people who read it,” she said proudly.
On a personal level Carol, who is not a native of Shercock, said she found being involved in the process to be a helpful way of integrating into the area.
“I’m from Granard originally and didn’t know anyone in Shercock. I moved here during Covid so it was hard to meet people. It was great to be able to get involved in the community and do something good. There are over a dozen people involved so I got to know a lot of people.”