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Volunteer effort helps Wetlands look their best

The Committee of the Shannon Town Community Wetlands last week welcomed and worked alongside volunteers from SES Ltd, a local aircraft engine leasing company, based in a major practical conservation outing.

Prior to Covid the company had been in touch with an offer of assistance, and their offer finally became a reality on a gloriously sunny April morning. 

After initial introductions the group were welcomed on site by Olive Carey of the Shannon Town Community Wetlands gave a brief outline of the history of the project.

Ruairí Ó Conchúir, Community Water Officer with the Local Authority Waters Programme also gave an overview of the importance of wetland sites and then gave outlined the planned work for the day, keeping in mind health and safety considerations.

Working with Ruairí and voluntary members of the Shannon Wetland Committee a group of about 15 broke into work teams and set about a general site clean-up, including litter picking, removal of all materials from within the pond network, desilting of the interconnected pond channels which connect one pond to the other and cleaning of the log seating in the outdoor classroom area. 

One of the highlights of the day was a visit of children from Harmony Montessori school, who joined the volunteers for their tea break, and learned about the birds, plants and species present, and how wetlands work. 

Olive Carey of the Wetlands committee said that there are plans to step up education around the amenity.

“We’re currently talking to the two secondary schools here in Shannon, the Comprehensive and St Caimin’s and we’re hoping to run a few biodiversity workshops for transition year students in May, before the end of the school year.

“Over the course of the summer we plan on running some community biodiversity training days as well.”

With the summer approaching, the Wetlands are currently in very good condition, she feels.

“It’s looking really well after the clean up. Over the course of the winter various pieces of debris find their way in there, so all of that has now been tidied up.

“The outdoor classroom area has been strimmed and it’s ready for people to occupy it. With the ponds, the interconnecting channels have been cleared so the water can move freely between each of them. It’s looking really great right now.”

Maria Conway, of SES Ltd, noted that SES Limited, is a global company headquartered in Shannon and is the world’s largest lessor of CFM56 and LEAP aircraft engines,
with the largest portfolio strategically located worldwide.

Maria Conway of SES Ltd said that Corporate Social Responsibility has always been a very important part of the company’s ethos.

“Where possible we try to make a positive contribution in our local community, we actively seek out charities and voluntary organisations that we can support.”

Ms Conway added, “We thoroughly enjoyed the day and hope to volunteer with this impressive community project soon.”

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.