Tidy Towns move to educate locals and visitors on biodiversity
In an initiative set to promote the coastal town’s varied sea life, Balbriggan Tidy Towns has just unveiled new biodiversity information signs, located along the coastal walkway overlooking Balbriggan’s harbour.
The signs will serve to inform visitors and locals alike of the rich sea life found along the coastline, focusing on common sea-birds and marine life. According to Balbriggan Tidy Towns, many locals are unaware of Balbriggan’s biodiversity, with many visitors even unaware that Balbriggan is a coastal town.
Speaking of the initiative, Balbriggan Tidy Towns Chairman, Terry O’reilly said: ‘We decided to focus on seabirds and marine creatures, just to give a small sample of what lives along our shoreline.
‘We hope that if we all become more aware of the diversity of life around us, we will work harder to preserve the natural habitats.
‘One of the headings in the Tidy towns is biodiversity, and we just thought that the beach was one of the main assets of the town that we didn’t really highlight enough.’
He says: ‘We do a lot of clean ups on the beach and meet there every Saturday, so we’d be very aware of the pollution and the plastics that are going into the sea.
‘I think the signage is just making people aware that we share the habitat with other creatures.’
According to Terry, QR codes have been included on the signs, allowing visitors to access the Tidy Towns, Birdwatch Ireland and Bord Iascaigh Mhara websites via their mobile phone for further information.
The project, Terry says, was a collaboration between Balbriggan Tidy Towns, Fingal LCDC and Fingal Co Council.
The Fingal branch of Bird Watch Ireland provided photography from local photographers for use on the signage, with Balbriggan man Declan Geraghty providing background imagery.
There was also support from Loreto students and Gaelscoil Baile Brigin, who helped with the Irish language translations.
Terry says: ‘I think the fact that Balbriggan has grown so fast, and the population has almost doubled in the past few years, there’s been an awful lot of new people in the town who wouldn’t be aware of the names or types of birds that are found along the coastline, or even the types of fish to be found there.
‘So it’s an information point for the new people living in Balbriggan and visitors to the town.
‘There are a lot of people who wouldn’t even necessarily be aware that Balbriggan is a seaside town, because you sort of bypass the beach when you drive through the town.’
Terry says Balbriggan Tidy Towns now plans to install benches along the coastal walkway, to make the area more attractive, and a place where people ‘can sit and read, and chat, and see the lovely view over the harbour and of Martello Tower’.
It is yet another innovative measure from the Tidy Towns group who do extraordinary work for Balbriggan and all on a volunteer basis.
Terry O’reilly with the new sea-life biodiversity information signs in Balbriggan.