Laois scouts troop set out to use drones to survey local bog

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

Laois scouts troop set out  to use drones to survey local bog

A survey to be carried out Knockacollier Bog

Laois groups are to share more than €15,000 in peatlands related projects one of with one group of young people setting out to survey a local bog from the area.

Mountrath Scouts and the Abbeyleix Bog Project have received separate grants under the Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme.

Mountrath Scout Group has been awarded €2,315.47 to run a series of awareness and education days at Knockacollier Bog Special Area of Conversation and engage experts to run workshops, erect signage at the entrance of the bog, install wildlife cameras and survey area using a drone.

Meanwhile, Abbeyleix Bog Project has been awarded €12,605.33 to procure equipment and software to develop skills amongst the Abbeyleix Bog Project volunteers and to use this to collect survey data and map over 3,000 peat dams that were installed.

Seán Fleming, Minister of State at the Department of Finance welcomed the funding.

"This funding is for volunteer groups and environmental organisations in relation to projects that they have designed covering such areas as information gathering and increasing awareness of peatlands in their area.

"These projects will increase peoples knowledge of nature and biodiversity but also help people in terms of physical and mental health and wellbeing.  Investments in nature are of enormous social value, especially in these challenging times," he said.

The grants were also welcomed by his ministerial colleague and Laois Offaly based Green Party senator, Pippa Hackett.

“Our relationship with the bog is changing from one of extraction to one of protection and it’s wonderful to see local groups in the Midlands finding a new appreciation for this fundamental part of our heritage... I applaud the community groups who have applied for this funding and I look forward to seeing the results of their efforts,” said the Minister of State.

Malcolm Noonan T.D., Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform today, (Monday 22 February), announced that he has approved grant funding of just under €230,000 to 25 local community groups and organisations for a variety of peatlands related projects across Ireland.

Announcing the funding the Minister stated that he was delighted to see the diverse range of initiatives put forward by such active community and volunteer groups and environmental organisations. The Minister stated that the amount of high quality applications received for 2021 was impressive and he was delighted there was such a geographic spread – with projects in 15 counties set to benefit.

He said: “The high volume and quality of applications to the Scheme shows just how much communities care about and value their local peatlands, and how much enthusiasm there is across the country for local people to work together to protect, explore and enjoy these precious habitats. These kinds of bottom-up initiatives are inspiring and I’m proud to have the opportunity to support them.”

A statement said the funding allocation - a two-fold increase on last year’s allocation to the scheme - will support various projects in local peatland areas from boardwalks, maintenance of bog trails, peatland restoration plans, information signage and way-finder markers, the surveying of bog habitats and birds, promotional material and publications, oral history projects, invasive species control and peatland education programmes to nature awareness, wellness and sensory experiences.

Projects to benefit include five in Roscommon, four in Galway, two in Westmeath and Laois and one apiece in counties Kildare, Offaly, Kerry, Clare, Cavan, Monaghan, Dublin, Carlow, Wicklow, Tipperary and Louth.