When Lismore Tidy Towns decided, in 2008/09, to get involved with An Taisce Green Communities Projects, a sub-committee of four members was set up to investigate what projects we could possible undertake.
The first plan of action was to identify several areas of biodiversity in the Lismore area and this was put together at our first meeting.
Ms. Bernadette Guest, Heritage Office, Waterford County Counci was contacted. We had one meeting with her and have regular contact with her since. At this meeting she advised us to contact Paul Green, Botanist, who visited the town on 8th March 2009 and spent the day investigating the various habitats accopanied by members of the Lismore Tidy Towns group.Areport on his findings were prepared and presented to the group
Lismore Tidy Towns worked with one of the science teacher and her Transition Year students in the local Blackwater Community School on their project for the Young Social Innovators competition. On the day that Paul Green came to look at the habitats and at the meeting that we had with Bernadette Guest the science teacher was part of the group. The T.Y. project got to the final in the RDS where they won their section on Biodiversity.
As part of the Heritage signs project in Lismore , the tidy towns group asked that two information signs on wildlife/nature/Biodiversity be produced. One sign was put up inside the entrance to the Strand and the other inside the gate at the start of Lady Louisa’s Walk.
WTidy Towns attended two seminars on Biodiversity. The first was organised by Waterford County Council and was on Biodiversity in Graveyards and the second was on invasive species. We also attended the launch of the first Biodiversity plan for County Waterford. An Taisce/Keep Wales Tidy organised a Green Communities Training Day in Tramore on 5th December 2009 which we took part in. This included a talk on their grant procedures, a talk on habitat improvement and a hands on experience in making bird and bat boxes. We enjoyed our days out and learned a lot.
We continue to create awareness about Biodiversity by including items related to it in our “EcoTip of the Week” in the tidy towns notes in the local papers and this information will now be available on our website also. Our aim is to encourage all readers not only those involved in tidy towns activities to regularly read the tip of the week. Readership of both papers is over 10,000 people. Leaving Certificate Construction Studies students at Blackwater Community School made bird and bat boxes according to the prototype designed at the workshop attended by tidy town members. In March 2011 a presentation of bat and bird boxes was made to the chair person of Lismore Tidy Towns for use at the Strand which were put up in time for the 2011 nesting season. Mr. Eddie Nugent who looks after the ducks and geese at the canal was also presented with bird boxes which have been put up on trees across from the picnic area at the canal. Within a few weeks there were Bluetits in one of them. Bird and bat boxes were also presented to our two local primary schools and to the Church of Ireland.
The eradication programme on the 3 invasive species in the habitat at the Strand is continuing. The Japanese Knotweed, the Winter Heliotrope and the Rhododendron have been greatly reduced but we still need to be vigilant with all three. The battle continues ! Three young Hazel trees have been planted at the edge of the woodland at the Strand in 2011 which we hope will encourage a few squirrels to come searching for hazelnuts sometime in the future.
Ms. Bernadette Guest recommended that schools should be involved in Biodiversity programmes. Over the past 3 years all 3 schools in the town – St. Mochudas National School, Bunscoil Bothar na Naomh and Blackwater Community School have all done projects. These have been sent in as part of the tidy towns application.
Log and stone piles have been created at the edge of the woodland as habitats for bugs.
We planted meadow grass, which contained 5 varieties of grass and 12 varieties of wild flowers at the strand. This was on the advice of Owen Dullea, Horticulturist, Waterford Co Co.
To promote and encourage an interest in biodiversity, Lismore Heritage Centre has developed a family experience programme where families use a local walk on the banks of the Blackwater river called Lady Louisa’s Walk to identify trees and insects.
In a woodland area opposite the Spout woodland flower seeds which contained over 20 different varities have been planted. This is called ECO3 Woodland Wild Flower Mixture and was sown in June 2013.
Between June 2013 and April 2014 a number of other Biodiversity iniatives have been undertaken:
—–12 bat boxes have been put up along the Owenashad Woodland Riverside Walk and along the banks of the Blackwater River on both sides of Lismore Bridge.
—–all habitats in the Lismore area have been identified and a report prepared by Mr. Andrew Harrington. Sustainable Mammals Project Waterford Co. Council.
—– a complilation of all birds in the environs of Lismore has been put together by Mr. Patrick Smiddy , retired staff member National Park and Wildlife Services.
—–the tidy towns Biodiversity sub committee has met with the Green School’s Committee Bun Scoil Bothar na Naomh and given them advice re their preparation for the school’s Biodiversity flag.
—–wildflower seed was planted at a section of the Triangle , opposite the Spout.
the storm of the 12th February 2014 brought down hundreds of trees in the environs of Lismore town– there is plenty of evidence of this at the Strand and as one walks down to the Owenashad Riverside Walk.
To create awareness of biodiversity / nature/ wildlife issues and to create resource materials for people of all ages a presentation of the two reports-bird and habitats- was made to Bun Scoil Bothar na Naomh, St. Mochuda’s National School, Blackwater Community School and the local Carnegie Branch Library in May 2014.
Purple/blue coloured perennials have been planted at theBee/ Butterfly Corner at the Grotto West Street-to attract more bees.
Sedums have been planted at the layby on theLismore/ Tallow. With the lavender planted there in Autumn 21013 it is hoped that this planting will attract bees.
During May 2104 the Obelisk area in the Millennium Park was replanted with many bee and butterfly attracting perennials.