Tidy Towns move to ed­u­cate lo­cals and vis­i­tors on bio­di­ver­sity

Fingal Independent - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

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.

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