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Funding boost for Seafield dunes project

Local efforts to promote and protect plants and wildlife in West Clare have been given a huge boost with a local sand dunes conservation group receiving its first grant funding for its biodiversity work. Seafield Conservation Forum €5,000 grant is to support the future development of its community biodiversity action plan, according to Caroline Egan, Co-Moderator of the Forum.
The voluntary association is dedicated to addressing coastal erosion, and to the restoration and conservation of Seafield’s sand dunes. It plans to work with experts, the local community and land-owners to implement actions which not only respond to the biodiversity emergency but will also provide a template to help protect the sand dunes at Seafield as a natural resource for all people.
Welcoming the recognition of the forum’s work, Ms Egan said: “Seafield Sand Dunes has been a haven for bird life and an abundance of nature for millennia. Given the biodiversity and climate crisis that threatens unique sand dune habitats, we are delighted to receive funding support to bring on board the necessary expertise to help us protect nature in the Seafield area.
“The sand dune system has protected our homes and community from coastal flooding all these years. It’s our turn to find ways to help the sand dune system to withstand the coastal erosion and biodiversity challenges ahead. The funding awarded by Community Foundation Ireland to develop a community biodiversity action plan is very much appreciated. It will provide us with the blueprint we need to protect Seafield Sand Dunes into the future.”
Ms Egan also revealed Seafield Conservation Forum plans to organise a nature day with the wider community in the coming months when the plan is developed to share its contents. The project is being support by a unique partnership between government and philanthropy with funding being provided to communities across the country from donors to Community Foundation Ireland as well as the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS); the government’s executive agency with responsibility for nature conservation, wildlife protection and the presentation and preservation of national parks and nature reserves. As a philanthropic hub, Community Foundation works with approximately 5,000 voluntary, community and charitable partners throughout the country.
The partnership between the NPWS and Community Foundation Ireland began as a ‘seed for nature’ at the 2019 National Biodiversity Conference. Today, 213 action plans are in place where communities have been supported to take action. Since 2000, the foundation has provided grants of over €130 million which are aimed at creating an impact by connecting community groups with scientific expertise, and helping them to better understand their local biodiversity. Successful grantees work with ecologists to create a community biodiversity action plan and can then seek funding to implement it. All of the data they collect is shared with the National Biodiversity Data Centre thus making a valuable contribution to citizen science in Ireland.
“This is a pioneering partnership between government and philanthropy which has provided leadership in responding to the biodiversity emergency. While the challenge is great, what is hugely encouraging is the interest, energy, and enthusiasm of the full spectrum of local groups now taking action to protect our plants and wildlife,” added Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of Community Foundation Ireland.

Sharon Dolan D'Arcy

Sharon Dolan D'Arcy is originally from Ennis. Her work as a print journalist has appeared in a number of regional publications. She worked as court reporter at The Sligo Weekender newspaper and is a former editor of The Athenry News and Views. She covers West Clare news.

About Sharon Dolan D'Arcy

Sharon Dolan D'Arcy is originally from Ennis. Her work as a print journalist has appeared in a number of regional publications. She worked as court reporter at The Sligo Weekender newspaper and is a former editor of The Athenry News and Views. She covers West Clare news.

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