An Óige have prepared their 2017 Conservation Plans. The organisation has recently strengthened its commitment to the preservation of our natural environment by including it as one of its strategic goals going into the future. The aim is to provide people with opportunities to learn about nature and do some practical conservation work, especially at our 26 hectare site beside Knockree Hostel in Co. Wicklow.
The Board of An Óige has also approved and adopted a Nature Conservation Management Plan for the Knockree site and added it to the association’s 2017 task list. The plan was drafted by ecologist Orla Daly and was majority funded by a grant from The Heritage Council. Orla has done a great job in assessing the site and setting out the actions we need to take to preserve and improve the various habitats to be found there and to increase its biodiversity. The alluvial woodland, calcareous springs and river habitat conform to the EU Directive Annex I habitat types which makes them of European significance. Alder buckthorn, an Irish Red Data Book listed plant, and regionally significant bird cherry tree and broad-leaved helleborine, a member of the orchid family, give some indication of the richness of the site.
The Knockree Conservation Volunteers Group are dedicated to carrying out the actions contained in the managemt plan with the support of An Óige management and staff. They also hope to partner with other environmental groups to achieve the objectives of the plan.
Glenmalure Hostel is one of our hostels run by another dedicated team of volunteers. Situated in the remote valley of Glenmalure (Ireland’s longest glacial valley), this historic hostel has no electricity and is very keen to keep its environmental impact to the minimum. Their environmental officer, Josephine O’Byrne, reports that they will have two composting toilets installed at the hostel for the next summer season. It looks like they can expect a future flush with success!
The new manager at Ben Lettery Hostel, Stephanie Dick (also known as Sam), has pledged to run the Connemara hostel in an environmentally sustainable a way as possible. She practices all types of waste recycling at the hostel and aims to have no food waste by next summer. Even the prosthetic leg recently fitted to her three legged pet goat Lady Go-Go is made from recycled human prosthesis!
More volunteers will be needed for the various projects as they are rolled out. Anyone with an interest in nature and environmental conservation can express their interest in taking part by emailing Philip Hayden (firstname.lastname@example.org) and by signing on to the An Óige Volunteer Database.
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