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Volunteers sought to help with new conservation programme

AS many New Year’s resolutions begin to fall by the wayside, one Burren-based organisation is urging people to make a new one and volunteer to help repair the local landscape.

The Burrenbeo Trust, this week, launched its new Burren Conservation Volunteers (BCV) programme, the first of its kind.
“This is an exciting opportunity to get together as a community and not only learn what some of the key conservation issues of the Burren are but also to get actively involved in working towards maintaining the Burren for future generations,” said The Burrenbeo Trust’s communications officer, Brigid Barry.
The Burrenbeo Trust will allocate a day each month when interested individuals can come to a specified location that has been identified to be worked on and help address key conservation issues such as scrub removal, rebuilding stone walls, litter picking, removing mini-dolmens and other important issues to aid the future sustainability of the Burren region. 
“The litter is not providing a very nice habitat for visitors or wildlife in the area. We want to get the litter cleaned up in order to encourage sustainable tourism. The walls have been knocked by a variety of things, like feral goats, other animals and visitors, so by rebuilding the walls we are maintaining the heritage of the area and helping farmers and land owners to protect their boundaries and their land. There is also a huge environmental problem with scrub. Hazel scrub is encroaching in many areas of the Burren region and it is quite dense. Once it grows, it takes over habitats of importance and it is very hard to then regain these habitats. Mini dolmens are creating visual pollution on the landscape and it is affecting the heritage by demeaning the real dolmens that exist in the area,” Brigid explained.
The Burrenbeo Trust has received support from the Local Agenda 21 fund to carry out the first ever volunteer programme in the region.
“The money, it isn’t a huge amount, is for insurance and things like protective gloves, loppers used to cut back scrub and other equipment. Work will be carried out one day a month and because it will be different activities each time, different equipment will be needed. We are giving up our time for free in terms of training people and will provide refreshments,” Brigid told The Clare Champion.
To date, the trust has over 30 individuals with a registered interest in being part of the BCV programme but welcomes more. Each outing is free and all that is needed is people’s time.
“Burren Conservation Volunteers was set up because people were asking if they could get out and help. They love visiting the area but they wanted to have more to do with the maintenance of the environment. That is why we applied for funding in the first place. This type of volunteering is a great idea to get people to come out and get involved as a community. You can see the effects of your work by the end of the day and they have a positive conservation impact on the environment,” Brigid continued.
The Burrenbeo Trust’s first volunteer day will be Saturday, February 6 at Slieve Carran Nature Reserve between 10am and 4pm. The Trust will work in collaboration with Emma Glanville, the National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger for this nature reserve on the day. Emma will provide information on the conservation of the reserve and guide the BCVs through the first day of work out in the field.
To get involved, contact Burrenbeo Trust on 091 638096. More information on the Trust is available from www.burrenbeo.com.


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