Monday, 27 February 2012

3rd April Green Drinks Lifeline Project

This month in our collaboration with a group of about thirty people heard Kaethe Burt O'Dea speak about the Lifeline Project and the influence of environment and behaviour on health in  the urban context. The LifeLine project is a site specific proposal for a multifunctional access route to the future Dublin Institute of Technology and HSE site at Grangegorman from the north. The LifeLine is a linear park that would begin at Broadstone, follow the disused link to the Midland Great Western Railway that travels north through Cabra to meet the canal at Phibsborough and continue to follow the canal to the west of the city into the countryside west of Dublin. As a multipurpose landscape the LifeLine would provide a surface for mixed activity (cycling, walking, running, games, casual play) and facilitate movement in, out, and around the city, as the amenity could ultimately link into a circcular greenway around Dublin. LifeLine has been actively working with the Railway Procurement Agency on the project. 

Lifeline is also a community led campaign exploring wasted resources (people, places, materials, systems) in Dublin, Ireland. The project covers areas such as the intensification of local food production, urban biodiversity, eco tourism, green transport and innovative models of healthcare, recreation and waste management.

10th March Tree Week

On Saturday 10th March, Dublin Branch IWT celebrated trees by inviting the citizens of Dublin to learn about, enjoy and value trees in two of Dublin’s well known outdoor parks. Sarah Rubalcava led the walk up 
Killiney Hill and Niall Mac Coitir led the walk in St Anne’s Park, Raheny.

Niall and Sarah hugging a native oak

Both walks were well attended. On Niall's walk among the trees shown were the yew, one of Ireland's native trees which can live to a thousand years. The oldest known tree in Ireland is believed to be 700 years old and is in the grounds of Maynooth College. It is called Silken Thomas' yew, as the famous Irish rebel is said to have rested there the day before he was taken prisoner by the English. Another tree seen was the beech, which gets its name from the Anglo-Saxon word for book - buch  - as the old English were said to carve their runic letters into it. St. Anne's also features many unusual trees, like the Hollyoak in the picture below, clinging on to the side of a cliff!

Yew tree

Beech tree

Hollyoak hanging on for dear life

3rd March Mammal Conservation Workshop

Dublin IWT Blog – MISE Project
Sarah Rubalcava

On the 3rd March, members of the Dublin Branch joined Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council volunteers in a joint venture called the MISE Project. We met at 9.30 am in Marley House, Rathfarnham. The grandeur of the rooms seemed fitting for the important business of conserving some of Ireland’s small mammals.

Mammals in a Sustainable Environment (MISE) Project (an EU funded project covering parts of Ireland and Wales) is an exciting new project and breathes fresh air into any person interested in wildlife and conservation. The project partners on the Irish side include Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), Waterford County Council and the National Biodiversity Data Centre. Conserving and monitoring biodiversity, sharing skills across the border region, local communities and volunteers are firmly at the heart of this initiative.

In Ireland, otters, pine marten, red squirrels, bats and other small mammals are being surveyed and monitored. The MISE Project is using non-invasive methods to survey these animals. These non-invasive methods include the collection of hair tube samples for squirrels, otter spraints and pine marten scats (otter and pine marten poo in other words!) and bat droppings. The Dublin Branch will be developing the otter and red squirrel surveys over the coming months.

Before heading out on the field training part of the day, we were given an overview of present status and ecology of pine martens, squirrels and otters.
Sadly due to the recent discovery of squirrel pox in the Dublin Mountains, hair tubes surveys will not be used but instead it is hoped that visual surveys can be carried out.

After the talks we headed out and walked a length of the small river in Marley Park and managed to find otter spraints and a footprint or so we were told. We then travelled to the local Coillte forests at Ticknock where we found signs of red squirrels eating. Earlier that day, we were told that the forests still had red squirrels and it is hoped that squirrel pox doesn’t impact too heavily on the locals.

When the day concluded this is what one participant said:

“It was a really fun morning and I learned way more about otter surveying through the hands-on approach of this training day than I could ever have from a book.” - Aoife.

This is an excellent opportunity to learn and gain valuable experience, meet like-minded people and to be more proactive in conserving Ireland’s biodiversity. (photos courtesy of Joy)

Looking for otter poo
Otter tracks

Nibbled by red squirrel